nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Thursday, July 8, 2010

4% Of Health Care Dollar Spent On Medicalized Social Ills

Critical observers have been pointing to how we make everything a disease for over four decades (social anxiety disorder?).

But not often have critics of this social phenomenon identified a link to high health care costs.

Take a look at the table for how we spend about 4% of our medical dollar in the US (from the Florida Times-Union, July 7):

Medical condition and estimated direct medical cost
[taken from a study in the journal Social Science and Medicine, June 2010]

Anxiety disorders: $10.9 billion
Behavioral disorders: $4.7 billion
Cosmetic procedures/surgery: $12.4 billion
Erectile dysfunction: $1.1 billion
Infertility: $1.1 billion
Male-pattern baldness: $1.1 billion
Menopause: $914 million
Normal pregnancy/delivery: $18.3 billion
Normal sadness: $6.2 billion
Obesity: $1.3 billion
Sleep disorders: $1.8 billion
Substance-related disorders: $1.5 billion
TOTAL:  $77.1 billion

That's more than enough to provide full coverage to all the uninsured in the country.  It's also more than we spend on heart disease, cancer, and preventive medicine combined.  Mind-boggling.

You can argue about some of the items on the list:  (1) Is infertility a disease?, (2) obesity is killing us, etc.  I'm willing to spend the money for some of these things.

But I'm well beyond caring about my terminal case of androgenic alopecia  (I know, I can use technical language to hide the truth, but baldness is baldness), and wouldn't spend a dime on it.

Doc D

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