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November 6, 1948


Author Affiliations

President, American Medical Association Cleveland

JAMA. 1948;138(10):745-747. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02900100025006

PREVALENCE  The patient with chronic illness is one of the major challenges to modern society. Sooner or later some form of long term illness affects one or more members in most families of the nation. A conservative estimate suggests that more than one sixth of the population— some 25,000,000 persons—are afflicted with some chronic disease.1 Approximately 2,000,000 of our population are chronic invalids at the present time, and the number is steadily increasing. It will increase still more as the control of other disorders which were so devastating heretofore is now being more effectively managed. The mortality rates from acute infections, nutritional deficiencies, glandular abnormalities, are falling. Many patients afflicted with cancer are being cured because of earlier diagnosis and complete eradication.A report from New York State estimates that 7 out of every 10 deaths are due to some chronic illness. And while in 1900 chronic disease was