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The Compression of Morbidity

The Compression of Morbidity In this century we are progressing through three separate eras with dramatically different characteristics of health and illness. We entered the century in an era of infectious disease, with tuberculosis the number one killer of our population, and smallpox, diphtheria, tetanus, and other infectious illnesses extremely prevalent. A reduction in mortality from these diseases of over 99 percent ( Fries and Crapo 1981 ; Cooper 1982 ) has led to the present era, where the major burdens of illness of the United States are the chronic diseases. Atherosclerosis and its complications, neoplasia, emphysema, diabetes, cirrhosis, and osteoarthritis have increased in prevalence even as the infectious illnesses which preceded them declined. It is one thesis of this discussion that this chronic disease era in its turn will slowly decline in significance, leaving a third era in which the major health problems of the United States will be directly related to the process of senescence, and where the aging process itself, independent of specific disease, will constitute a major burden of illness for the United States. The ultimate constraint within which we must develop health policy for the future is, of course, the limit of life itself. Man is mortal, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Milbank Quarterly Wiley

The Compression of Morbidity

The Milbank Quarterly , Volume 83 (4) – Dec 1, 2005

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References (44)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0887-378X
eISSN
1468-0009
DOI
10.1111/j.1468-0009.2005.00401.x
pmid
16279968
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In this century we are progressing through three separate eras with dramatically different characteristics of health and illness. We entered the century in an era of infectious disease, with tuberculosis the number one killer of our population, and smallpox, diphtheria, tetanus, and other infectious illnesses extremely prevalent. A reduction in mortality from these diseases of over 99 percent ( Fries and Crapo 1981 ; Cooper 1982 ) has led to the present era, where the major burdens of illness of the United States are the chronic diseases. Atherosclerosis and its complications, neoplasia, emphysema, diabetes, cirrhosis, and osteoarthritis have increased in prevalence even as the infectious illnesses which preceded them declined. It is one thesis of this discussion that this chronic disease era in its turn will slowly decline in significance, leaving a third era in which the major health problems of the United States will be directly related to the process of senescence, and where the aging process itself, independent of specific disease, will constitute a major burden of illness for the United States. The ultimate constraint within which we must develop health policy for the future is, of course, the limit of life itself. Man is mortal,

Journal

The Milbank QuarterlyWiley

Published: Dec 1, 2005

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