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Lung diseases burdens Canadian economy

03-17-2012 16:29 BJT

VANCOUVER, March 16, (Xinhua) -- Three major chronic lung diseases cost Canada's economy 12 billion Canadian dollars (12.09 billion U.S. dollars) in 2010, and the annual economic burden could double by 2030 if no further actions are taken, the Conference Board of Canada said on Friday.

The Conference Board's analysis estimated that in 2010, lung cancer, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease incurred an expense of 3.4 billion Canadian dollars (3.427 billion U.S. dollars)in direct health-care costs such as drugs, hospitals, physicians and 8.6 billion Canadian dollars (8.6685 billion U.S. dollars)in indirect costs, such as premature deaths and long-term disability.

Risk factors specifically associated with chronic lung diseases -- and therefore those that could have the greatest influence on disease prevalence -- are smoking rates, second-hand smoke, and indoor air quality, said the Conference Board.

The Conference Board projected that the prevalence of chronic lung diseases could increase by 32 percent by 2030, given that historical trends in risk factors are maintained. That would mean the economic burden would reach an estimated 24.1 billion Canadian dollars (24.29 billion U.S. dollars).

However, if actions were taken to reduce risk factors, the number of new cases would rise by 29 percent instead of 32 percent, which means the economic burden would drop by 1.56 billion Canadian dollars (1.57 billion U.S. dollars)in 2030 -- a reduction of 6.5 percent from the first scenario, according to the study.

In addition, over the 20-year period, costs for these three diseases would be reduced by a cumulative 12.4 billion Canadian dollars(12.49 billion U.S. dollars), said the Conference Board.

"These three diseases exact an enormous human and economic toll," said Louis Theriault, a health economist at the Conference Board of Canada.

"Reducing smoking rates, lessening exposure to second-hand smoke, and improving indoor and outdoor air quality would lower the economic burden of these diseases," he said.

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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