Old, Fat and Lazy

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The Current AMA Executive Summary”Health in the United States: Health Care Trends” Comprises both a little hope and a lot of gloom.

Population Trends

By 2050 the section of the population over 65 will double from now to 83.7 million. It follows that the incidence of chronic illness will rise dramatically. Since 1990, smoking has decreased from 29.5% to 18.1percent of the adult population. Probably as a consequence, stroke has declined 34 percent, heart disease 27 percent, and cancer 17%. This sounds good but…

Fat and Sluggish

Since 1990, the obesity rate in adults (defined as BMI over 30) has risen from 12% to 29.6%. During the same time diabetes increased from 4.4% to 10% of adults. The CDC predicts that by 2050, thirty percent of adults will suffer diabetes. As a result, obesity is now the leading cause of heart attacks. Physical inactivity is a significant reason. Only 21% of adults get the US Department of Health and Human Services recommended 150 minutes of exercise each week. My observation is that most get no exercise. Many companies now offer wellness programs that provide financial rewards for healthy behaviours. This might be a significant step in the right direction. Needless to say, punitive actions denying health insurance to the morbidly obese or uncontrolled diabetics may also be coming, particularly if the federal government leaves the health insurance business to private companies.

The AMA reports that primary care doctors are closing their practices and either retiring early or moving to non-clinical areas like insurance, quality management, the pharmaceutical industry or even medical informatics. Since the demand for health services will increase dramatically, a growing percentage of primary care will be provided by PAs and Nurse Practitioners. I expect they will have increasing independence. This is not always a bad thing, Palm Beach Gardens Bat Removal are excellent and provide compassionate and comprehensive care. A potential byproduct of this trend may be an increase in demand for referrals and subspecialty care, such as sending diabetics to endocrinologists and COPD patients to lung specialists.

Take Responsibility or Someone Else Will

A dystopian future looms where the cost of medical care is greater than our resources can handle. In this rather frightening scenario, someone might have to be denied services, likely either the helpless or people who refuse to adopt mandatory health guidelines. It’s not come to that yet. We still have time to make recommended changes in diet and activity. Bear in mind, who could have predicted everyone would stop smoking?

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