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Cost of Diabetes is Exploding

Cost of medical care for a person with diabetes:
$10,071 per year, compared with $2,669 for a person without diabetes.

Diabetes is an expensive disease to treat, and it's getting pricier as people develop the illness and its complications earlier, says Matt Petersen, a cost-analysis expert with the American Diabetes Association.

An analysis of the cost of treating diabetes is being done, and preliminary data shows "the cost of treating people with diabetes is growing disproportionately to increases in other health care costs." A 1998 analysis by the American Diabetes Association shows:

Direct medical costs attributable to diabetes: $44.1 billion.

- Indirect costs, including factors such as days of work lost and permanent disability: $54.1 billion.

- Cost of medical care for a person with diabetes: $10,071 per year, compared with $2,669 for a person without diabetes.

As people develop diabetes at younger ages, the overall price tag balloons, Petersen says. Kidney dialysis, for instance, costs up to $44,000 a year, according to a 1999 study. If people can postpone kidney failure by five years through delay of diabetes or better control of the illness, the savings in dollars can be significant, he says.

Prevention has a bottom line cost, too, Petersen says, although it's harder to estimate. Prevention could include the price of access to a gym, nutrition education, a personal trainer, a diabetes educator.

"In the short term, there could be considerably higher health costs, but you prevent complications years later," Petersen says.
American Diabetes Association Publication
Date: 2002-10-24
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