Data Cart

Your data extract

0 variables
0 event summary variables
0 samples
View Cart
Condition is priority condition


For all current conditions, PRTYCOND reports whether the condition was identified as a priority condition. Priority conditions are designated as such due to their prevalence, expense, or relevance to policy.

For each priority condition, respondents are asked if they have been diagnosed with the specific condition. This contrasts with conditions that are not identified as priority conditions, where respondents report the condition without being asked about a specific condition (i.e., "Have you ever been diagnosed with asthma?" compared to "Between [START DATE] and [END DATE] did you have any physical or mental health problems, accidents, or injuries? Please include all of your conditions, accidents, or injuries..."). Although AHRQ only provides PRTYCOND from 1996-2009, priority conditions are still identified in 2010 and later years but there is no variable identifying them as such on the public use files.

IPUMS MEPS reports the universe for each variable based on a thorough review of the original MEPS documentation. Investigating the data may reveal cases that do not meet the stated universe. Users are encouraged to validate universes for their analyses.

Identifying Priority Conditions
Prior to Panel 12 in 2007, priority conditions were identified by MEPS interviewers in the field by checking the condition against a preset list. Due to interviewer misinterpretation, occasionally priority conditions were not identified as such and other conditions were inaccurately identified as priority conditions. For Panel 12 and later panels priority conditions were automatically identified by the CAPI (computer assisted personal interviewing) software.

List of Priority Conditions for Panel 1 to Panel 11 

Cancer (of any body part)

  • cancer
  • tumor
  • malignancy
  • malignant tumor
  • carcinoma
  • sarcoma
  • lymphoma
  • Hodgkin's disease
  • leukemia
  • melanoma
  • metastasis
  • neuroma
  • adenoma


  • diabetes
  • diabetes mellitus
  • high blood sugar
  • juvenile diabetes (Type I diabetes)
  • adult-onset diabetes (Type II diabetes)
  • diabetic neuropathy


  • emphysema
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • chronic bronchitis (MUST use the word 'chronic', only for adults)
  • Chonic obstructive bronchitis (MUST use the word 'chronic', only for adults)
  • smokers cough

High cholesterol

  • high cholesterol
  • high or elevated triglycerides
  • hyperlipidemia
  • hypercholesterolemia


  • HIV
  • AIDS


  • hypertension
  • high blood pressure

Ischemic Heart Disease

  • ischemic heart disease (MUST use the word 'ischemic')
  • angina
  • angina pectoris
  • coronary artery disease blocked, obstructed, or occluded arteries
  • arteriosclerosis
  • myocardial infarction
  • heart attack


  • stroke
  • cerebral hemorrhage
  • cerebral aneurysm
  • transient ischemic accident
  • transient ischemic attack
  • apoplexy
  • carotid artery blockage
  • arterial thrombosis in brain
  • blood clot in brain


  • anything with the word 'arthritis'
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • degenerative arthritis
  • osteoarthritis
  • bursitis
  • rheumatism


  • anything with the word 'asthma' or 'asthmatic'

Gall Bladder Disease

  • gall bladder disease, trouble, attacks, infection, or problems
  • gallstones

Stomach Ulcers

  • stomach ulcer
  • duodenal ulcer
  • peptic ulcer
  • bleeding ulcer
  • ulcerated stomach
  • perforated ulcer

Back Problems of Any Kind

  • back problems or pain of any kind (lower or upper back)
  • sore, hurt, injured, or stiff back
  • backache
  • anything with the words 'vertebra', 'vertebrae', 'lumbar', 'spine', or 'spinal'
  • strained or pulled muscle in back
  • sprained back
  • muscle spasms
  • back spasms
  • bad back
  • lumbago
  • sciatica or sciatic nerve problems
  • disc problems: herniated, ruptured, slipped, compressed, extruded, dislocated, deteriorated, or misaligned discs

Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias

  • anything with the words 'Alzheimer's' or 'dementia'
  • organic brain syndrome

Depression and Anxiety Disorders

  • depression (including severe, chronic, or major depression)
  • dysthymia
  • dysthymic disorder
  • bipolar disorder
  • manic depression or manic depressive illness
  • anxiety attacks
  • panic attacks
  • anxiety
  • nerves
  • nervous condition
  • nervous breakdown

List of Priority Conditions for Panel 12 and later panels 

  • Angina/Angina Pectoris
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)/Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Cancer/Malignancy
  • Chronic Bronchitis
  • Coronary Heart Disease
  • Diabetes/Sugar Diabetes
  • Emphysema
  • Heart Attack/Myocardial Infarction (MI)
  • High Cholesterol
  • Hypertension/High Blood Pressure
  • Joint Pain
  • Other Heart Disease (not coronary heart disease, angina, or heart attack)
  • Stroke/Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)/Mini-stroke

PRTYCOND is on the condition record (see RECTYPE for more details on the different record types in IPUMS MEPS). Variables offered on the condition record through IPUMS MEPS are derived from the Medical Conditions file provided by AHRQ. Please see our overview of the event, medical conditions, and prescribed medicines variables, including how those variables are offered through IPUMS MEPS, and general considerations to keep in mind when conducting analyses using these variables.

Codes and Frequencies

Can't find the category you are looking for? Try the Detailed codes


Conditions that were identified as priority conditions changed between Panel 11 and earlier panels and Panel 12 and later panels. Additionally, prior to Panel 12, priority conditions were identified by MEPS interviewers in the field by checking the condition against a preset list. For Panel 12 and later panels priority conditions were automatically identified by the CAPI (computer assisted personal interviewing) software.


  • 1996-2009: All current conditions.


  • 1996-2009



This variable has no flags.