Practice Fusion, a company that provides a free, web-based Electronic Health Record application to physicians, has announced the top 20 most diagnosed conditions in the U.S. in 2010. Among those top 20, four are chronic pain conditions.
2. Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol/triglycerides)
4. Back pain
7. Allergic rhinitis
8. Reflux esophagitis
9. Respiratory problems
11. Visual refractive errors
13. Fibromyalgia/myositis, neuritis
14. Malaise and fatigue
15. Pain in joint
16. Acute laryngopharyngitis
17. Acute maxillary sinusitis
18. Major depressive disorder
19. Acute bronchitis
As I looked over the list, two things struck me right away...
First – Given that one-fifth of the most frequently diagnosed conditions involve chronic pain, it would seem reasonable that the medical community in general, and medical schools in particular, should start spending a lot more time teaching doctors how to treat chronic pain. I've been told that most medical schools only spend about one hour training doctors on the treatment of pain. And I suspect a good portion of that hour is devoted to dealing with acute pain such as post-surgical pain, pain from injuries, etc. A great deal more time, money and research needs to focus on treating chronic pain.
Second – On a slightly more positive note, the fact that fibromyalgia ranks #13 on the list, shows me how much progress we've made in making doctors aware of the condition and training them to diagnose it. When I first got involved in trying to raise fibromyalgia awareness 15 years ago, most doctors knew little, if anything, about FM. Of those who had heard of it, many didn't believe it was real and most of those who believed it existed didn't know how to diagnose it. We've come a long way, baby! Of course, I'm not happy to see that so many people have FM – just glad that it is finally being recognized and treated.
If anything special stands out to you as you look over this list, please click “Comments” below and share with us.
Health Research Data: Chronic disease prevalent in top 20 patient diagnoses. Practice Fusion Press Release. February 9, 2011.
Published On: February 12, 2011