Treating chronic disease could help forestall onset of Alzheimer's disease

Treating chronic disease could help forestall onset of Alzheimer's disease

04.19.11 | By

With PhRMA's annual meeting completed, everyone here is getting back into their more normal routines. So, I thought I'd start the week talking about a piece in today's New York Times Health Section. The upshot is that elderly people suffering some memory loss or cognition issues may be less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease if underlying problems like diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol are properly identified and effectively treated.

The study again underscores some things we spend a lot of time talking about here at the Catalyst. First, is the impending challenge posed to our health care system from Alzheimer's disease.

The second point, however, is that identifying, preventing and treating chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and other conditions can play a critical role not only in extending life but improving the quality of life. The cost of failure to identify, prevent and intervene early to control chronic diseases is enormous - estimated to be as much as 75 cents of every health care dollar spent in America today. But, if that isn't enough, the chance that the toll of Alzheimer's disease could be reduced by better management of chronic conditions is all the more reason to focus on improving prevention and treatment.

There's some great information about the toll of chronic disease and its impact on our economy and health care at the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease. I also recommend the latest blog by Dr. Ken Thorpe on the path to improving our health. Dr. Thorpe was one of the moderators at PhRMA's annual meeting and conducted a great panel discussion on the impact of chronic disease on the cost of health care in America.

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