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Diabetes Awareness Month: Annual Cost of Diabetes Rises to $245 Billion

The American Diabetes Association released new research that the  annual cost of diagnosed diabetes has risen 41% since 2007 and now costs an estimated $245 billion. When we are talking billions, a 41% increase in 5 years is a lot!  As you’ll see in the article linked below, the experts explain that one of the key factors leading to the increase in the overall cost of diabetes is that  more people in the U.S.  are being treated for the disease. But, here’s the problem, or rather one of the many problems….The estimated $245 billion annual price tag for diabetes is only reflective of a small part of a much bigger issue.

What’s not included in the $245 billion dollar cost of diabetes

245-billion cost grapgh1) UNDIAGNOSED DIABETES: As of 2011, 27% of people with diabetes didn’t know they had the disease. Diabetes is known as being the “silent killer”, because it can remain undetected in the body for 10 or more years. Silent and dormant are not the same thing. In fact, during the time that diabetes remains untreated and uncontrolled, it can wreak havoc on vital organs in the body, causing irreparable damage.

To measure the impact undiagnosed diabetes has on our economy, scientists reviewed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and concluded that undiagnosed diabetes accounts for about $18 billion in health care costs annually.

2) PREDIABETES:  In addition to the 18.8 million Americans that have been diagnosed with diabetes, and the 7 million Americans whose diabetes has yet to be detected, there is a much larger problem brewing under the surface. It currently has an estimated $25 billion effect on our nation’s healthcare system, and it is just a precursor for what’s to come. It’s prediabetes!  There are currently 79 million Americans with the condition, of which 90% don’t know they have it.  As many as 83% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes unless those affected take significant steps to lose weight, eat right and exercise more to improve their health.

“We are only beginning to grasp the full economic impact of diabetes,” said George Huntley, chairman of the board for the ADA. “For the first time we can demonstrate that healthcare costs begin to rise long before diabetes has developed. Both of these early conditions are associated with significant increases in the use of healthcare services and expenses. Yet with aggressive intervention, both can be averted or at the very least delayed.”

All together,  if we added the estimated cost of undiagnosed diabetes and the cost of prediabetes to the total,  we may find that the true annual cost of diabetes in our country could exceed $288 billion.

Here’s the bottom line, the diabetes epidemic, if not stopped has the power to bankrupt our entire healthcare system. One in five health care dollars in the U.S. is going to care for the 18.8 million people with diagnosed diabetes.  Right now 8.3% of the population has diabetes (diagnosed and undiagnosed). Imagine what will happen if the predictions are accurate and 1 in 3 American adults (33%) have diabetes in 2050.

Here’s the good news, 80% of type 2 diabetes is preventable with lifestyle change. If we can help identify those who are at-risk, then provide them with the tools they need to succeed, we can create an alternative, healthier future. The first step to fighting diabetes, is helping to create awareness!

Click to find out what risk factors may increase your risk for type 2 diabetes!

Read full article: “American Diabetes Association Releases New Research Estimating Annual Cost of Diabetes at $245 billion


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