On Your Health

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What Health Issues Cost Oklahomans the Most?

07 July 2017

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What would you guess are the costliest health conditions in our country? Although cancer or lung disease might come to mind, when looking at health issues comprehensively, based on dollars spent nationwide, heart disease and diabetes are the most expensive conditions. Because diabetes is a “gateway” disease that can lead to multiple other conditions, it’s attributed to more than $176 billion in annual health care expenditures. Heart disease, including conditions like coronary heart disease, heart failure and heart attacks accounts for more than $193 billion in annual national spending.

Where Oklahoma ranks for health care spending

In a 2016/2017 report from the United Health Foundation, Oklahoma was named a “State with the Biggest Opportunities for Improvement,” ranking 46th in the nation, on average, across a variety of health issues. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates Oklahoma’s annual health care spending per person is $7,627. A report from the Department of Health and Human Services projects that health care spending will grow at a faster rate than the national economy over the coming decade. That squeezes the ability of federal and state governments, not to mention employers and average citizens, to pay. So what issues comprise the bulk of Oklahoma’s health care expenditures?

Costliest health issues in Oklahoma

The following health conditions have the biggest impact statewide, not only in spending, but in people affected, individuals in treatment and death rates. As costs fluctuate annually, these are not in any particular order; however, each of these issues significantly impacts the overall health of our state.

  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Obesity
  • Mental health
  • Lifestyle-related cancers and smoking-related conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Substance abuse and addiction

Changing the future of Oklahoma’s health

When preventive care and healthy lifestyle choices become a priority, health care spending decreases. Staying up-to-date with regular check-ups is a smart place to start. The power to change the health of our state and improve the outlook for future Oklahomans lies with us.