/publications/issue/2003/2003-10/2003-10-7477

Seniors More Proactive About Doctor Visits

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    The National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey shows that aging Americans are taking a more aggressive role in their health. Compiled by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and released this past August, the survey found that there were 880.5 million visits to US doctors? offices in 2001, and more than half of those visits were made by middle-aged or senior patients. Whereas the number of people in the United States over age 45 rose by 11% in the past 10 years, doctor visits by that age group increased by 26% in the same time period.

    In addition, the survey found that the leading diagnoses during office visits in 2001 were for arthritis and other joint problems, hypertension, and the common cold. The primary diagnosis was diabetes in 27 million doctor visits. The survey showed that approximately one third of all office visits were for chronic conditions, 35.3% were for acute problems such as sudden illness, and 16.8% were for preventive care.