Comorbidity Effects Healing and Return to Work

By Dr. Ivan Castro
Medical Director
HomeCare Connect

February is national American Heart Month focused on education, awareness and prevention of heart disease. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2015), Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States; affecting one out of four individuals. Heart disease occurs when cholesterol builds up into the bloodstream causing the blood flow to the heart to slow down or become restricted. Factors that contribute to heart disease consist of age, gender, race, family history, smoking, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

As the workforce continues to age and individuals tend to work longer, it is becoming more prevalent that comorbidity diagnosis occurs at or after an initial injury takes place. Comorbidities typically consist of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, depression, insomnia, immune system issues, chronic pulmonary issues, tobacco use, alcohol addiction and drug addiction. A study conducted in November of 2012 by National Council of Compensation Insurers (NCCI), concluded that medical claims costs with comorbidities doubled than those without; average medical claim costs for hypertension was $15,656 compared to $2,490 without a comorbidity. It was also noted from 2000 to 2009 the share of workers’ compensation claims with comorbidity diagnosis nearly tripled from 2.4% to 6.6%.  (click here for entire article)

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