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Billions to Treat Baldness

Cost of Treating Normal Health Conditions

In the last few decades, many normal health conditions have become "medicalized," or treated as medical problems. Examples of these conditions include male pattern baldness, normal sadness, normal pregnancy, menopause, erectile dysfunction, ADHD, infertility, sleep disorders and more. Brandeis University sociologist Peter Conrad led researchers in a study to estimate costs of treating 12 conditions defined as medicalized by medical organizations. They found that we spent $77.1 billion in 2005 on medicalized conditions like male pattern baldness and menopause. "We spend more on these medicalized conditions than on cancer, heart disease, or public health," said Conrad. While $77 billion is a big sum, Conrad doesn't see the figure as a "key driver of skyrocketing health care costs."

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