Skin ailments, joint disorders, and back pain—not life-threatening conditions—are the most common reasons for visits to U.S. health care providers, according to a new Mayo Clinic Proceedings study.
For the study, Mayo Clinic researchers used data from the Rochester Epidemiology Project—a comprehensive medical records linkage system—to categorize the medical diagnoses of Olmsted County, Minn., residents who had visited the Mayo Clinic, the Olmstead Medical Center, and the Rochester Family Medicine Clinic between January 2005 and December 2009. They found that the 10 most common diagnoses were:
- Skin disorders;
- Osteoarthritis and joint disorders;
- Back problems;
- Cholesterol problems;
- Upper respiratory conditions, excluding asthma;
- Anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder;
- Chronic neurologic disorders;
- High blood pressure;
- Headaches and migraines; and
"Much research already has focused on chronic conditions, which account for the majority of health care utilization and costs in middle-aged and older adults," says lead study author Jennifer St. Sauver, adding, "Surprisingly, the most prevalent non-acute conditions in our community were not chronic conditions related to aging, such as diabetes and heart disease, but rather conditions that affect both genders and all age groups."
For instance, nearly half the study population suffered from a skin disorder—such as acne, cysts, or dermatitis—in the five-year period (Perry, Minneapolis Post, 1/17; Mayo Clinic release, 1/16).