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Heart Disease, Cancer and Mental Disorders Among the Most Costly Conditions for Women

AHRQ News and Numbers, July 21, 2011

AHRQ News and Numbers provides statistical highlights on the use and cost of health services and health insurance in the United States.

The cost of treating women for heart disease in 2008 was $43.6 billion, leading a list of the top 10 most expensive conditions for women, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

According to the analysis by the Federal agency, in 2008, the top 10 most costly conditions in terms of health care expenditures for women were:

  • Heart disease.
  • Cancer.
  • Mental disorders.
  • Trauma-related disorders.
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma.
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure).
  • Diabetes.
  • Back problems.
  • Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol levels).

The Agency also found that in 2008 for women among the 10 costliest conditions:

  • The second most costly disease to treat was cancer ($37.7 billion), followed by mental disorders ($37.3 billion), and trauma-related disorders ($34.1 billion).
  • The lowest expenditures among the top 10 costliest conditions were for hyperlipidemia ($18.0 billion).
  • The most common condition was high blood pressure (29.5 million women reporting).
  • The least common condition was cancer (8.4 million women reporting).

The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers summary are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), a detailed source of information on the health services used by Americans, the frequency with which they are used, the cost of those services, and how they are paid. For more information, go to Statistical Brief #331: Top 10 Most Costly Conditions among Men and Women, 2008: Estimates for the U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Adult Population, Age 18 and Older.

For additional information, or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, please contact Linwood Norman at or call (301) 427-1248.

Current as of July 2011
Internet Citation: Heart Disease, Cancer and Mental Disorders Among the Most Costly Conditions for Women: AHRQ News and Numbers, July 21, 2011. July 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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