Skin problems, joint disorders top list of reasons people visit doctors

January 16, 2013

A new Mayo Clinic Proceedings study shows that people most often visit their health care providers because of skin issues, joint disorders and back pain. Findings may help researchers focus efforts to determine better ways to prevent and treat these conditions in large groups of people.

"Much research already has focused on chronic conditions, which account for the majority of health care utilization and costs in middle-aged and older adults," says Jennifer St. Sauver, Ph.D., primary author of the study and member of the Population Health Program within the Mayo Clinic Center for the Science of . "We were interested in finding out about other types of conditions that may affect large segments of the population across all age groups."

The research team used the Rochester Epidemiology Project, a unique, comprehensive medical records linkage system, to track more than 140,000 Olmsted County, Minn., residents who visited Mayo Clinic, Olmsted Medical Center and other Olmsted County between Jan. 1, 2005, and Dec. 31, 2009. Researchers then systematically categorized patient diagnoses into disease groups. The top disease groups included:

  • Skin disorders
  • Osteoarthritis/joint disorders
  • Back problems
  • Cholesterol problems
  • Upper respiratory conditions (not including asthma)
  • Anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder
  • Chronic
  • Headaches/migraine
  • Diabetes
"Surprisingly, the most prevalent non-acute conditions in our community were not chronic conditions related to aging, such as diabetes and heart disease, but rather conditions that affect both genders and all age groups," says Dr. St. Sauver.

For example, almost half of the study population was diagnosed with "skin disorders"—acne, cysts, dermatitis—within the five-year period. Dr. St. Sauver says that this finding presents an opportunity to determine why these skin-related diagnoses result in so many visits and if alternative care delivery approaches that require fewer visits are possible.

Explore further: Study confirms smoke-free workplaces reduce heart attacks

Related Stories

Study confirms smoke-free workplaces reduce heart attacks

November 14, 2011

Mayo Clinic researchers have amassed additional evidence that secondhand smoke kills and smoke-free workplace laws save lives. The study will be presented to the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions on Monday ...

Recommended for you

Big Data can save lives, says leading cancer expert

May 16, 2016

The sharing of genetic information from millions of cancer patients around the world could be key to revolutionising cancer prevention and care, according to a leading cancer expert from Queen's University Belfast.

New soap to ward off malaria carrying mosquitoes

May 13, 2016

(Medical Xpress)—Gérard Niyondiko along with colleagues Frank Langevin and Lisa Barutel has posted a project on the crowd source funding site ulule for a product called Faso Soap. They claim the soap can cut in half the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.