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  • Writer's pictureOrange Biomed

$1 Out of Every $4 in U.S. Healthcare Costs is Spent on Diabetes Treatment

Did you know diabetes is the most expensive chronic condition in the United States? Read this blog to understand the medical and financial impact of unsuccessful diabetes prevention and management.

Image Source: CBS News

A quarter of the U.S. healthcare bill is eaten by the diabetes burden. The high cost of diabetes treatment in the U.S. is more extensive than anywhere else. According to the CDC, diabetes is the ‘most expensive chronic condition’ in the country.

Let's take a look at some statistics from the CDC on the costs of waiting to get tested for Diabetes in the U.S.:

  • 61% of diabetes costs are for adults aged 65 or older, which is mainly paid by Medicare.

  • Among Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 or older with type 2 diabetes, the estimated median cost associated with diabetes complications is $5,876 per person each year.

  • 48% to 64% of lifetime medical costs for a person with diabetes are for complications related to diabetes, such as heart disease and stroke.

  • $1 out of every $4 in US healthcare costs is spent on caring for people with diabetes.

How can both patients and doctors work to solve this expense? The high cost of diabetes in the U.S. suggests that reducing the diabetes burden through prevention can lower overall healthcare costs. Both U.S. healthcare providers and patients can work together for preventative action.

9 out of 10 Type 2 Diabetes Cases are Preventable

Type 2 diabetes, accounting for 90-95% of those diagnosed in the U.S., is proven to be preventable through healthier lifestyle changes. Healthcare providers can educate their patients on making healthier choices, especially when they see a patient at risk. Patients must be willing to make an effort to maintain healthy lifestyles to prevent the condition in the long term.

Although there are some factors for type 2 diabetes that are unavoidable, such as family history, other risk factors can be avoided to prevent prediabetes and maintain a healthy BMI.

How to Reduce the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes?

Patients can follow the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP), which over 640,000 U.S. adults took part in as of September 2022, emphasizing the importance of consistent healthy and clean eating and physical activity. These combined efforts can reduce the risk of type 2 by over 50%, especially for those at high risk.

In addition, there are ways to prevent diabetes complications that come with waiting to get tested and treat diabetes, such as eye disease, kidney disease, heart disease, strokes, and more. According to the CDC:

  • Effective blood sugar management can reduce the risk of eye disease, kidney disease, and nerve disease by 40%.

  • Blood pressure management can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by 33% to 50%.

  • Improved cholesterol levels can reduce cardiovascular complications by 20% to 50%.

  • Regular eye exams and timely treatment could prevent up to 90% of diabetes-related blindness.

  • Healthcare services that include regular foot exams and patient education could prevent up to 85% of diabetes-related amputations.

  • Detecting and treating early diabetic kidney disease by using medicines that lower blood pressure can reduce the decline in kidney function by 33% to 37%.

Overall, the results of not treating diabetes, prediabetes, and dealing with diabetes complications is an extreme expense in the U.S. that healthcare professionals could prevent through education and patients through efforts to maintain healthier lifestyles.

Testing the A1C levels of all patients is key to decreasing the negative impact of the diabetes burden, as it helps detect the problem early.


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