Blog | Wednesday, August 14, 2013

QD: News Every Day--Diabetes' price tag is expensive and growing

People diagnosed with diabetes are facing a hefty price tag associated for care, and a new study highlighted exactly how much by age and gender.

Researchers estimated the lifetime direct medical costs of treating type 2 diabetes and diabetic complications, and their results appeared online Aug. 6 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Data from the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey were applied to a model of costs of treating type 2 diabetes and its complications that was derived from published literature.

The average of the lifetime medical costs for men and women of all ages was $85,200, of which just more than half was from treating diabetic complications. Managing macrovascular complications accounted for 57% of treating all complications.

By age, lifetime direct medical costs of treating type 2 diabetes and diabetic complications for men diagnosed with type 2 diabetes was:

• 25–44 years, $124,700;

• 45–54 years, $106,200;

• 55–64 years, $84,000; and

• ≥65 years, $54,700.

In women, the costs were slightly higher than men because even though women have fewer complications, they live longer:

• 25–44 years, $130,800;

• 45–54 years, $110,400;

• 55–64 years, $85,500; and

• ≥65 years, $56,600.

Researchers wrote, “Poor adherence to recognized standards of management care in glycemic, blood pressure, and cholesterol control is a primary cause of increased risk for diabetic complications. Among people with diabetes, only 3% of insulin users and 1% of nonusers met all five of the ADA’s recommended standards for risk factor management and complication prevention. The present study suggests that decreasing the incidence of complications could have a major cost impact.”

Earlier this year, the American Diabetes Association released its own estimates of the individual cost of diabetes to a person, saying that people with diagnosed diabetes incur average medical expenditures of about $13,700 per year, of which about $7,900 can be attributed to the condition.

Robert E. Ratner, MD, FACP, the ADA’s Chief Scientific & Medical Officer, said at that time, “When it comes to the rising cost of diabetes, one of the key factors explaining the increase is that there are many more people that are now being treated for diabetes in the U.S. It is important to note that while treating diabetes is expensive, it is the fact that the prevalence of the disease is increasing dramatically.”