Circulatory conditions had been the largest contributor to health spending, for at least a decade, until 2012 when they were surpassed in total spending by ill-defined conditions (a category including check-ups, follow-up appointments, preventive care, and treatment of minor conditions such as colds, flus, and allergies), according to Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker.
In 2012, about $250 billion was spent on ill-defined conditions, and $243 billion went toward the treatment of circulatory conditions.
The report concludes that the top five disease-based spending categories (ill-defined conditions, circulatory, musculoskeletal, respiratory, endocrine, and nervous system conditions) account for roughly half (51%) of all medical services spending by disease category. Circulatory and ill-defined conditions each represent about 13% of overall health spending by disease and musculoskeletal, respiratory, and endocrine conditions represent 10%, 8%, and 7% respectively.
Spending grew fastest for ill-defined conditions and slowest for circulatory conditions from 2000 to 2012.
Among major disease categories, the cost per case grew fastest for infectious diseases.