Summit held to address California's health outlook

LOS ANGELES The California Endowment hosted a summit Tuesday entitled Diabetes, Obesity and Heart Diseases: Changing the Paradigm to Care. The summit is being held to address the widespread threat to the state’s health and, more importantly, the effect of chronic diseases, which have crippled the state physically and economically.

More than 16.3 million cases of such chronic diseases as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke and mental disorders were reported in California in 2003, according to the Milken Institute. These chronic conditions can shorten lives, reduce quality of life and place a significant burden on caregivers. In addition, these diseases cost Californians approximately $133 billion dollars per year in direct treatment costs and lost productivity, according to the Milken Institute. These diseases account for 75 percent of healthcare spending, yet are often preventable and increasingly treatable, according to the Center for Disease Control.

“We must look at healthcare by finding solutions and implementing them, not by continuing the status quo” said Liz Helms, chair of the California Chronic Care Coalition. “California—and the rest of the nation—must focus on preventing chronic diseases and conditions through better disease management and appropriate medical intervention. Healthy living and continuing development of innovative treatments will ensure that quality of life is as high as possible.”

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