Interesting Health Facts for 2003

From the 2003 year end wrap up of the American Medical News comes an interesting section with some very interesting facts. Some of these facts may be startling and may not be generally known. Much of health care information available today does not reflect the facts. So we will attempt to sort out some truth from the sea of fiction. Below is a list and explanation of just some of the most interesting health facts for 2003.

  • 47 million adults in the U.S. are smokers. While most of the adult smokers in the country say they would like to quit, only 5% manage to do so each year.
  • About 8% of the adult population and 5% to 9% of children are affected by serious mental illness.
  • Asthma is the No. 1 reason for school absenteeism. In all 4 million children have an asthma attack each year.
  • Only 22 states have regulations or guidelines on office-based procedures. During a two-year span, patients in Florida were 10 times more likely to die or be injured in surgeries performed at doctors' offices than those performed at surgical centers.
  • Only 38% of health professionals get annual flu shots. (What does that tell you?)
  • Medication errors cost the health care system more than $1 billion a year.
  • Only 2 states have laws requiring doctors to write legible prescriptions.
  • Only about 10% of Americans die a sudden death. The other 90% experience a steady decline in health punctuated by a short "terminal phase" of rapid decline.
  • Although 20 states have some type of mandatory system for reporting medical errors, 90% of adverse drug reactions go unreported.
  • By 2030, 1 of every 5 Americans, will be 65 or older.
  • Childhood vaccines were 38 times more expensive in 2001 than in 1975.
  • $1.4 trillion was spent on health care in 2001, about $5,000 per person.
  • 70% of older teens have used the Internet to look up health information.
  • Administrative costs account for 40% of the price of an individually purchased health plan.