MedicineWorld.Org
Your gateway to the world of medicine
Home
News
Cancer News
About Us
Cancer
Health Professionals
Patients and public
Contact Us
Disclaimer

Medicineworld.org: Chronic illnesses go undiagnosed in uninsured

Back to society news Blogs list Cancer blog  


Subscribe To Society News RSS Feed  RSS content feed What is RSS feed?

Chronic illnesses go undiagnosed in uninsured




A newly released study shows uninsured American adults with chronic illnesses like diabetes or high cholesterol often go undiagnosed and undertreated, leading to an increased risk of costly, disabling and even lethal complications of their disease.

The study, published online today [Tuesday] in Health Affairs, analyzed data from a recent national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The researchers, based at Harvard Medical School and the affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance, analyzed data on 15,976 U.S. non-older adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a CDC program, between 1999 and 2006.

Respondents answered detailed questions about their health and economic circumstances. Then doctors examined them and ordered laboratory tests.



Chronic illnesses go undiagnosed in uninsured

The study observed that about half of all uninsured people with diabetes (46 percent) or high cholesterol (52 percent) did not know they had these diseases. In contrast, about one-quarter of those with insurance were unaware of their illnesses (23 percent for diabetes, 29.9 percent for high cholesterol).

Undertreatment of disease followed similar patterns, with the uninsured being more likely to be undertreated than their insured counterparts: 58.3 percent vs. 51.4 percent had their hypertension poorly controlled, and 77.5 percent vs. 60.4 percent had their high cholesterol inadequately treated.

Surprisingly, being insured was not linked to a widely used measure of diabetes control (a hemoglobin A1c level below 7), a finding the authors attribute to the stringent definition of good diabetes control used in the NHANES survey. Even with excellent medical care, a number of diabetics fail to achieve such low hemoglobin A1c levels. Using less stringent hemoglobin A1c thresholds of 8 and 9, uninsured adults had significantly worse blood sugar control than their insured counterparts, the scientists found.

Main author Dr. Andrew Wilper, who worked at Harvard when the study was done and who now teaches at the University of Washington Medical School, said: "Our study should lay to rest the myth that the uninsured can get the care they need. Millions have serious chronic conditions and don't even know it. And they're not getting care that would prevent strokes, heart attacks, amputations and kidney failure."

Referring to a study released in the American Journal of Public Health last month, which has been widely quoted by Sen. Max Baucus and others, he added: "Our prior work demonstrated 45,000 deaths annually are associated with lack of health insurance. Our new findings suggest a mechanism for this increased risk of death among the uninsured. They're not getting life-saving care".

Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, professor of medicine at Harvard and co-author of study, said: "The uninsured suffer the most, but even Americans with insurance have shocking rates of undertreatment, in part because high co-payments and deductibles often make care and medications unaffordable. We need to upgrade coverage for the insured, as well as covering the uninsured. Only single-payer national health insurance would make care affordable for the tens of millions of Americans with chronic illnesses".

Dr. David Himmelstein, associate professor of medicine at Harvard and co-author of study, said: "The Senate Finance Committee's bill would leave 25 million Americans uninsured and unable to get the ongoing, routine care that could save their lives and prevent disability. No other wealthy nation tolerates this, yet Congress is turning its back on tens of millions of Americans".


Posted by: Janet    Source




Did you know?
A newly released study shows uninsured American adults with chronic illnesses like diabetes or high cholesterol often go undiagnosed and undertreated, leading to an increased risk of costly, disabling and even lethal complications of their disease. The study, published online today [Tuesday] in Health Affairs, analyzed data from a recent national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The researchers, based at Harvard Medical School and the affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance, analyzed data on 15,976 U.S. non-older adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a CDC program, between 1999 and 2006.

Medicineworld.org: Chronic illnesses go undiagnosed in uninsured

Asthma| Hypertension| Medicine Main| Diab french| Diabetes drug info| DruginfoFrench| Type2 diabetes| Create a dust free bedroom| Allergy statistics| Cancer terms| History of cancer| Imaging techniques| Cancer Main| Bladder cancer news| Cervix cancer news| Colon cancer news| Esophageal cancer news| Gastric cancer news| Health news| Lung cancer news| Breast cancer news| Ovarian cancer news| Cancer news|

Copyright statement
The contents of this web page are protected. Legal action may follow for reproduction of materials without permission.