If it’s raining you take an umbrella if you have to go outside, right?  Human beings do all kinds of things to protect themselves and their loved ones from harm.  We teach our children not to touch hot stoves, not to play with matches, not to run out into the street if a car is coming.  And, certainly no one ever wants to become ill, or have to have surgery or to become incapacitated in any way.  Unfortunately, things happen.  Some things may harm our health that we have control of like smoking, drugs, and alcohol.  Other times we may just get sick through no fault of our own.  The health insurance premiums that we pay are paid with the expectation that when and if we do need medical attention we won’t have to pay the entire bill ourselves.  You may have a high deductible health plan but you know that if some expensive disease enters your body your medical insurance will ensure that you are properly cared for.  Perhaps you have a small child that become seriously ill with a life threatening disease.  You would be so thankful that the health premiums have been paid.

Just to give you an idea how expensive it is to treat serious illnesses, Forbes has compiled a list of America’s most expensive medical conditions.  Here they are in descending order.

10.  Normal Childbirth Estimated spending $32 billion the birth of a child is a happy and joyous occasion althoug h an expensive one.  In 2005, $23 billion was spent on hospital inpatient stays for live births, as well as $7 billion on outpatient and office-based medical provider visits.

9.  Back Problems Estimated Spending $32 billion back and spine problems affect millions of American adults.  $17 billion on outpatient and office-based medical provider visits and $8 billion on hospital inpatient stays.

8.  Osteoarthritis And Other Joint Diseases  Estimated Spending $34 billion There are more than 100 different arthritic diseases and conditions with osteoarthritis the most common and affecting more than 27 million people.

7.   Diabetes Types 1 And 2 Estimated spending $34 billion Diabetes has more than doubled in the last 15 years totaling 14.6 million in 2005.  Type 1 appears mostly in childhood.  Type 2 which is largely preventable accounts for 90% to 95% of all diabetes.

6.  Hypertension Estimated spending $42 billion High blood pressure is considered a major risk factor for heart failure and stroke.

5.  Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) a group of diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis and in some cases asthma which cause air flow blockage and breathing related problems.  It’s also a leading cause of death, illness and disability.

4.   Mental Disorders, Including Depression  Estimated Spending $55 billion According to the CDC, every year, one in two Americans has a diagnosable mental disorder, which can be as disabling as cancer or heart disease in terms of premature death and lost productivity.

3.  Cancer Estimated spending $69 billion the second leading cause of death, cancer kills more than half a million Americans every year, according to the CDC.  Fighting the disease doesn’t come cheap.  $33 billion on outpatient and office-based medical provider visits, $29 billion on hospital inpatient stays.

2. Trauma Disorders Estimated Spending $72 billion Trauma disorders include everything from broken bones caused by falls to injuries from a car accident.

1. Heart Conditions Estimated Spending $76 billion. Winner!  79 million of us have it and coronary heart disease is a major cause of premature, permanent disability in the workforce.