By Bruce Japsen

The cost of diabetes, heart disease and back pain are taking a greater toll on the U.S. economy, with these conditions and injuries dominating personal healthcare spending, authors of a new study say.

They are among only 20 of 155 conditions that account for more than half of all U.S. health spending, researchers led by the University of Washington wrote in the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Diabetes, the top spending category, accounted for more than $100 billion in personal health spending.

Researchers looked at the conditions and diseases over an 18-year period through 2013 that are driving U.S. health spending, which accounts for 17% of the U.S. economy. “The top 10 or 20 things aren’t always things that people are thinking of,” Joseph Dieleman, assistant professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and the paper’s lead author, said in an interview.


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