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Chronic Disease

In Colorado and across the United States, chronic diseases are the biggest threat to health and wellness. Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, lung disease and other chronic conditions last a long time, limit everyday activities and lead to increased disability. They are also the leading causes of death. Fortunately, chronic diseases are among the most preventable of all health problems.
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  • Nearly half of all Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease.

  • More than 80 percent of all deaths in Colorado in 2005 were due to chronic disease. Cancer and heart disease alone caused nearly 60 percent of deaths among Coloradans.

  • In general, rates of illness and death from chronic diseases are higher among racial and ethnic minorities, people with low incomes and people who live in rural or frontier areas of the state, although this may vary by disease.

  • Chronic diseases burden the health care system because they require ongoing medical care.

  • Average health care costs for people with at least one chronic disease are 2.5 times higher than for people with no chronic conditions.

    • More than 80 percent of all health care spending is for people with chronic disease.

    • Most chronic diseases are linked to obesity, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and tobacco use. Reducing these behaviors can lead to lower rates of chronic disease and fewer complications.

    • Screening techniques such as checking blood cholesterol levels and receiving regular mammograms can detect chronic diseases at early stages, when they are easier to control or treat.