5 of the Most Common Pre-Existing Conditions

Recent efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare have left many citizens fearing that healthcare insurance may no longer cover pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition is defined as any medical ailment needing treatment that was diagnosed before an individual receives insurance benefits. Under the current law of the Affordable Care Act, insurance carriers are prohibited from rejecting or charging higher premiums to a patient with a pre-existing condition.

Here are the five most common pre-existing conditions that would be most deeply affected under GOP plans.

1. High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, referred to medically as hypertension, is the biggest pre-existing health condition with 77.9 million U.S. adults being afflicted. Nearly one in three Americans experience this “silent killer” in their cardiovascular system. High blood pressure means that blood is being pumped too forcefully through one’s arteries, which makes the heart work harder. Health insurance is imperative for individuals to regularly receive blood pressure screenings and get anti-hypertensive medications that prevent future threats like heart disease.

Related: 5 Causes of High Blood Pressure

2. Mental Illness

Mental illness is an umbrella term used to describe disorders that affect emotion, cognition, and behavior, such as depression, addiction, OCD, generalized anxiety, PTSD, or bulimia. Mental health conditions are estimated to affect 43.8 million adults and 9.8 million minors each year. Treating mental illness will involve therapy to address the diagnosable brain changes that hinder functioning in daily life activities. Health insurance coverage is critical to restore well-being while lowering the risk of self-medication with drugs and suicide.

3. Diabetes

Diabetes is another prominent pre-existing condition that’s affecting 9.4 percent of Americans, or 30.3 million patients total. Diabetes results when blood glucose levels are too high and insulin manufactured in the pancreas isn’t sufficiently absorbing the sugar. Whether they have Type 1, Type 2, or gestational diabetes during pregnancy, individuals rely on health insurance to cover expensive insulin shots. Appropriate care is essential because untreated diabetes leads to renal damage, heart disease, nerve sensitivity, and sometimes blindness.

4. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, is the most prevalent form of arthritis that causes significant pain, stiffness, and swelling for around 27 million Americans. OA is a declining medical condition that continues to destruct the cartilage and bones within the body’s joints, especially the knees. Osteoarthritis is most common in women over age 50, overweight people, and former athletes. Health insurance is crucial to treating this joint ailment often with analgesic pain relievers, NSAIDs for inflammation, and mobility devices.

5. Asthma

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that leaves over 25 million Americans, including seven million children, wheezing and gasping for air. Asthma causes the inside passages of the bronchi and trachea to become swollen, thus resulting in shortness of breath. Severe asthma could be fatal without treatments like controller inhalers, bronchodilators, nebulizers, and oxygen therapy. Health insurance coverage can’t waiver because the incurable lung condition can flare anytime. Asthmatic patients are 17 times more likely to develop emphysema too.

According to the DHHS, up to 129 million non-elderly U.S. citizens have at least one pre-existing condition. The states with the most pre-existing health conditions are West Virginia, Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, and Arkansas.