Chronic diseases such as asthma, heart disease and depression cost the United States billions of dollars each year. But although there is a lot of data available on the national costs of such diseases, there's little data available on the costs to each state.
It's important to know state-level costs, because many policy decisions are made by states, said Justin Trogdon, an associate professor of health policy and management at the University of North Carolina. Along with researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Trogdon helped to create a tool called the Chronic Disease Cost Calculator to look at the economic burden of chronic diseases on U.S. states. [Read the full story on the CDC's Chronic Disease Cost Calculator]
To make the maps below, Live Science used this calculator to find the total economic burden of six chronic diseases for each state, including both the medical costs of treating the disease as well as the costs of absenteeism (lost work days) due to the disease.
It's important to note that the researchers emphasized that results from the calculator are not comparable across states, due to differences in data-collection methods. Rather, these maps can be looked at as a way to present the data for each state. In other words, looking at the maps below can give readers a sense of how much diabetes costs Alaska versus how much depression costs Alaska (rather than how much diabetes costs Alaska versus how much it costs California).
The six maps below show the total estimated yearly cost of six chronic diseases for each state, in millions of dollars.
This map shows the state-level costs of cardiovascular disease, which includes calculations for congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, other heart disease, stroke and hypertension.
This map shows the state-level costs of arthritis. Alaska spends the least amount on arthritis, while California spends the most.
This map shows the state-level costs of asthma. According to doctors, asthma attacks surge as children go back to school each fall.
This map shows the state-level costs of cancer. Cancer is the second most expensive health condition in the United States, after cardiovascular disease, according to the report.
This map shows the state-level costs of depression. A 2010 study found that half of people in the United States who have depression do not get treated for the condition.
This map shows the state-level costs of diabetes. A 2014 report found that one-quarter of the people with Type 2 diabetes in the United States do not know they have it.