More than half of Americans have at least one chronic disease, mental illness or problem with drugs or alcohol, according to a new study (Source: “More Than Half of Americans Have Chronic Health Problem: Study,” HealthDay News, Nov. 2, 2016).
The study, which was published in the journal Psychology, Health & Medicine, examined public health records to find out what percentage of U.S. adults have chronic medical conditions, mental illness or substance abuse problems, and how many were also living in poverty. Chronic medical conditions considered in the study included asthma, cirrhosis, diabetes, heart disease, hepatitis, high blood pressure, HIV/AIDS, lung cancer, pancreatitis and stroke, according to the report.
The study found that nearly 40 percent had at least one chronic medical condition. In addition, about 18 percent had been diagnosed with a mental illness in the past year, and about 9 percent abused drugs or alcohol during that time. The researchers reported that 2.2 million Americans have a chronic medical condition, a mental illness and a drug or alcohol problem.
Adults with a mental illness had more than triple the rate of drug or alcohol problems, and were nearly 1.5 times more likely to have an ongoing medical issue. They were also 1.2 times more likely to live in poverty, the findings showed.
"Just over half of adults in the U.S. have one or more chronic condition, mental disorder, or dependence on substances. These conditions commonly overlap with each other and with poverty, which contributes to poor health," Walker said in a journal news release. "In order to promote overall health, it is important to consider all of a person's health conditions along with poverty and other social factors."