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Baby boomers visit their doctors often

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ATLANTA, Aug 12, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Aging baby boomers are seeing their physicians more often, with more than half of all patients during 2001 being over the age of 45.

The annual National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, released this week by the Centers for Disease Control, shows the number of people over age 45 making doctors' appointments increased 26 percent during the past decade.

Visits for diagnostic and screening services were up 28 percent since 1992 and the percentage of visits with surgical procedures performed in a physician's office increased by 81 percent.

The leading primary diagnoses included high blood pressure, arthritis and related joint disorders, the common cold, and diabetes. The percent of visits for diabetes went up 63 percent between 1992 and 2001, making diabetes the primary diagnosis during 27 million 2001 doctor visits.

The number of drugs prescribed totaled 1.3 billion in 2001,, with the two most frequently prescribed drugs being Celebrex and Vioxx, newly marketed to treat arthritis pain. Lipitor, a statin drug; Claritin, for allergies; and the diuretic Lasix, rounded out 2001's top five prescribed drugs.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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