The Most Expensive Diseases and Health Conditions to Treat

If you have a chronic disease, then you’re likely shelling out a lot of cash to stay well. Copays for office visits, medications, lost productivity, and transportation to and from doctor’s appointments can leave you scraping to get by. Some chronic diseases and conditions cost more than others, but the combined costs are still a significant strain for many patients. This can impact your ability to save for emergencies, make large purchases, and even save for retirement.

If you’re battling a chronic health condition, you might wonder how other patients are faring when it comes to medical costs. Here are the 12 most expensive diseases and health conditions to treat.

1. Heart disease

 man clutching his chest

About 1 in 6 health care dollars are spent on managing cardiovascular disease. | iStock.com

The financial burden shouldered by heart disease patients would make anyone’s heart skip a beat. Heart disease and stroke cost Americans approximately $316.6 billion in health care costs and interruptions in productivity in 2011. Roughly 1 in every 6 health care dollars are spent on managing cardiovascular disease, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research.

2. Asthma

asthma inhaler

Costs associated with asthma include medicines, hospital stays, and missed work and school days. | Getty Images

Not being able to breathe is bad enough, but the high cost of treating asthma can leave you even more breathless. The total cost of asthma in the United States totaled $56 billion in 2007, a 6% increase from 2002, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Costs associated with asthma include medicines, hospital stays, and missed work and school days.

And if you’ve had asthma since childhood, you could also face higher insurance premiums. This is because a lifelong battle with asthma could eventually develop into a more serious lung condition, such as chronic bronchitis, which could reduce your life expectancy, LifeHealthPro reports.

3. Cancer

Woman holding a pink breast cancer awareness ribbon

Cancer treatments cost patients as much as $30,000 a year. | iStock.com/AND-ONE

A cancer diagnosis is frightening and overwhelming, but what can be just as overwhelming is managing the mountain of medical bills that come afterward. Cancer drugs and treatment could wipe out your savings. The average price of a year’s worth of cancer drugs is estimated to cost more than $100,000, according to Mayo Clinic. Cancer treatments, even for those with insurance, cost patients as much as $30,000 a year.

4. Mental illness

Man feeling depressed

Serious mental illness costs Americans $193.2 billion in lost income. | iStock.com

Roughly 1 in 5 adults, or 43.8 million, experience a mental illness in any given year, the National Alliance on Mental Illness reports. In addition, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality estimates serious mental illness costs Americans $193.2 billion in lost income each year. Furthermore, in 2013, spending on mental health disorders exceeded spending on all other medical conditions, including heart disease and trauma. These conditions were the second and third most expensive conditions, with total costs of $147 billion and $143 billion, respectively.

5. Diabetes

female doctor writing notes while talking to a patient

Roughly 3,835 people a day in the United States will be diagnosed with diabetes. | iStock.com

Almost 422 million Americans have diabetes. Unfortunately, it is estimated that 3,835 people a day in the United States will be diagnosed with diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Diabetics shell out an average of $13,700 each year on medical costs. Their medical expenditures are more than twice as high than those who don’t have diabetes. In addition, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health estimate diabetes costs Americans a total of $825 billion per year.

6. HIV/AIDS

red aids ribbon

Most patients face monthly medical costs of anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000. | iStock.com/4421010037

Treatment for HIV and AIDS is also quite costly. Those who are being treated for HIV usually take antiretroviral therapy to keep the disease under control. Drugs and regular medical checkups take a financial toll over the years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the lifetime cost of treating HIV is about $379,668 (in 2010 dollars). Most patients face monthly medical costs of anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 reports Health Line.

7. Arthritis

man with joint pain

Approximately $80 billion is spent on direct costs for arthritis treatment. | iStock.com

Arthritis patients spent roughly $128 billion in 2003 (the latest data available) on costs related to arthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This amount was equal to about 1.2% of the U.S. gross domestic product. Approximately $80 billion was spent on direct costs, such as medical expenditures, and $47 billion was spent on indirect costs, such as lost earnings due to missed days at work.

8. Kidney disease

kidney cross section

Kidney disease often has no signs or symptoms. | iStock.com/HYWARDS

It is estimated that more than 20 million adults in the United States have chronic kidney disease, which is the ninth leading cause of death in the nation. Kidney disease often has no signs or symptoms and over time can lead to kidney failure. Total Medicare costs for those age 65 years or older with chronic kidney disease were approximately $45 billion in 2012. This is roughly more than $20,000 per person each year.

9. Obesity

obese woman

Obesity-related absenteeism loses as much as $6.38 billion per year. | iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

Being obese is not only bad for your health but also your wallet. The medical costs of obesity in the United States were $147 billion in 2008 (the most recent estimates). Productivity loss is another major impact of the obesity crisis. Each year, as much as $6.38 billion ($132 per obese person) is lost due to obesity-related absenteeism. In addition, medical costs for those who are obese are $1,429 higher than those who are a normal weight. More than a third, or 36.5%, of U.S. adults are obese.

10. Hepatitis C

woman drinking tea

Drugs and regular medical checkups take a financial toll over the years. | iStock.com/CandyBoxImages

Approximately 3.5 million people in the United States have the hepatitis C virus. Treatment for hepatitis C can be very costly. Some of the newer medication regimens might provide a quick cure (generally within a few months), but they’re expensive, reports Drugs.com. Two of these antiviral treatments are Harvoni and Sovaldi, which could set patients back anywhere from $45,000 to $50,000 for a 12-week treatment.

11. High blood pressure

blood pressure monitors

The cost of high blood pressure treatment costs the nation about $46 billion each year. | iStock.com

Roughly 75 million adults in the United States have high blood pressure (about 1 in 3 adults). The cost of high blood pressure treatment costs the nation about $46 billion each year. The combined costs of high blood pressure treatment include medications used to treat the disease, as well as missed work days.

 12. Hemophilia

doctor talking to a male patient in an exam room

Patients who experience complications can face costs as much as $1 million per year. | iStock.com

The total annual average cost per patient for men with hemophilia was $155,136. Those with hemophilia A experience higher costs ($162,054), compared to those diagnosed with hemophilia B ($127,194),  according to a study published in the American Journal of Managed Care. The cost of treatment for hemophilia patients who experience complications can costs as much as $1 million per year for one patient.

Follow Sheiresa on Twitter @SheiresaNgo.

More Articles About:   ,