An estimated 5.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, a type of dementia that causes problems with thinking, memory and behavior. While there is no known cure, treatments, when accessible, can slow the disease’s onset and improve the quality of life for patients and their caregivers.
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About 21 million Americans have been diagnosed with cancer, and it isn’t always a one-time event. Ovarian cancer, leukemia and some types of lymphoma might be treated but could still come back eventually. Medical treatment can be costly and is necessary to prevent cancer’s growth or spread.
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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. Symptoms include breathing difficulty, cough, mucus (sputum) production and wheezing.
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Medical costs are twice as high for the 29.1 million adults and children with diabetes compared to those who do not. Diabetes is a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to insulin is impaired, resulting in high blood sugar levels. There is no known cure, but medical devices and therapies help to control and treat or prevent diabetes complications.
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Endometriosis is an often-painful disorder in which tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus. Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining your pelvis.
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Access to care and appropriate medical treatments is critical to the health, family and employment of patients with epilepsy, a chronic neurological condition characterized by seizures. People with epilepsy frequently encounter barriers with their health insurance coverage as well as discrimination at school and in the workplace.
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Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain, sleep problems and fatigue. It affects an estimated 5 million Americans.
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Cardiovascular disease, or heart disease, is a term that includes many different heart-related problems, most of which being related to atherosclerosis – a condition that can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Patients with heart conditions need access to the therapies and treatments their doctors prescribe to manage their disease and to avoid a heart event or death.
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Affecting 20,000 Americans and 400,000 people worldwide, hemophilia is a bleeding disorder in which the blood does not clot properly. While it is a lifelong condition, it can be managed through treatments such as regular infusions that help to control bleeding. Unfortunately, insurance companies may try to reject coverage for patients because of the high costs of treating this chronic disease.
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HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system, weakening the body’s ability to fight off infections and disease. With appropriate treatment, it can be managed long-term, but insurance companies have discriminated against HIV patients by putting their needed drugs in different price tiers.
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Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a broad term that describes conditions characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. The two most common inflammatory bowel diseases are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Approximately 1.6 million Americans are living with IBD.
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Chronic kidney disease occurs when a person’s kidneys are unable to properly filter toxins from the blood. Patients often must undergo dialysis treatments several times each week to survive. 661,000 Americans have kidney disease, and many face discrimination by insurers looking to cut costs and increase profits. The only cure is a transplant, and post-transplant medications aren’t always covered by health plans.
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Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks healthy cells and tissues. It can affect nearly any part of your body, including the heart, joints, skin, lungs, blood, or brain. Many people with lupus also end up with additional complications involving their kidneys.
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With multiple sclerosis (MS), the immune system attacks the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of the body. While this disease can be managed with treatments, it is lifelong with often painful symptoms and side effects.
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A rare disease is defined as a condition that affects fewer than 200,000 people in the US. There may be as many as 7,000 rare diseases and the total number of Americans living with a rare disease is estimated at between 25 – 30 million.
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