Diseases of Civilization: 

Heart of the US Health Crisis


A health crisis has quietly erupted in our nation. At least 170 million are affected and the emotional, psychic and financial costs are huge. The average American has 2.1 chronic conditions. The economic cost is more than $2.7 trillion every year and growing. Most of the financial costs are borne by individuals. Out-of-pocket, health care costs, and lost wages are the largest components. A whole new category of disease has exploded since 1990.


These diseases share a similar biological framework and are triggered by something external. They are chronic and germless. In general they last for a lifetime and there are no cures. None of these diseases are caused by a bacteria or virus. Instead they are triggered by something in our environment, lifestyle or environment. They are man made. Therefore, they are preventable. These are the diseases of civilization.

These three charts summarize the growth, scale and annual economic costs of the diseases of civilization in the US: