Cost of Diabetes vs Other Diseases - In the US and Globally - TheDiabetesCouncil.com
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Cost of Diabetes vs Other Diseases – In the US and Globally

What is the cost of diabetes in and within the US?

Diabetes has affected approximately 29 million adults and children in the United States. That number does not include the whopping 86 million people who currently have prediabetes and are at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The most shocking part of all this is that most of the population with prediabetes are not even aware that they have it.

These numbers are only expected to grow in the upcoming years if we do not do take any preventive measures against it. According to the leading diabetes website, the American Diabetes Association, the cost associated with diagnosed diabetes was $245 billion in 2012 compared to $174 billion in 2007. That is a 41% increase in just a period of five years. Out of the $245 billion, $176 billion were the direct medical costs of diabetes.

The breakdown of the medical expenditures are the following:

The costs of medical spending are 2.3 higher in people diagnosed with diabetes than those who do not have diabetes. More than $1 out of $5 of heath care money in the United states is due to diabetes. The price of insulin has increased 3 times between 2002 and 2013. While diabetes is taking the nation by storm, there are other medical conditions that are also draining our pockets.

We want to look specifically at the numbers and compare them to the cost of diabetes. The comparison will give us a good look at where the future of medical burden is heading and where diabetes sits amongst them all.

Cost of other diseases and conditions

Let us look at the costs associated with the other top medical conditions that the American population is dealing with and which are on a rise:

Who is paying for the costs of these diseases and conditions?

About 62.4% of the cost is paid by the government insurances such as Medicare or Medicaid. The remaining is paid by private insurances. California, at $27.6 billion of costs, is the state with the highest population of diabetes and thus the highest costs.  Although Florida is ranked 4th for total population in the US , it is the second in costs associated with diabetes at $18.9 billion.

How can we reduce the associated costs to diabetes?

Early diagnosis of prediabetes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. The same goes for early treatment of type 2 diabetes. Consistency is key in reducing the costs associated to diabetes. Patients must understand the imperative need to treat and control their diabetes in order to reduce any costs that may incur from it.

It is shown that with decrease and/or uncontrolled management of diabetes, related complications are what cause death in patients with diabetes. These complications can be reduced with regular care and self-management of diabetes. A recent study shows that better controlled diabetes can save a patient with diabetes $1,328 monthly with costs related to their disease.

Patients with diabetes can be taught that healthy eating is not necessarily expensive and time consuming. There are healthy alternatives which can be followed on a budget and meal planning can go a long way. Healthy food based decisions and increased physical activity will improve their quality of life and which in turn will decrease the chances of diabetes related complications.

Overall comparison of diabetes compared to other diseases on a global level

How do these costs relate globally?

On a global level, the cost of diabetes is now $825 billion per year. A study conducted by scientists from Imperial College London, Harvard T.H. Chan of Public Health, the World Health Organization and 500 researchers around the world gathered data from 4 million adults all over the globe.


Their comprehensive study revealed that in the last 35 years, the global rate in diabetes amongst men has gone up by 9% in 2014. This number was at 4.3% in the 1980s. The rate has increased from 5% in 1980 to 7.9% in 2014 for women who have diabetes.

Does diabetes cost the same elsewhere in the world as it does in the United States?

The rates at which diabetes cases are rising elsewhere globally are higher compared to than the number of cases seen in the US. The same study revealed that diabetes is most prevalent in Polynesia and Micronesia.

Some other findings of the study are as follows:

Which other diseases are on the rise next to diabetes?

Obesity is a risk factor for many other prevalent diseases that we see on the rise: diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, cancer. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2014, more than 1 billion people were considered to be overweight, out of which 600 million were considered to be obese. Globally, obesity has doubled in numbers between 1980 and 2014.

Obesity costs are at $2 trillion annually. More than 30% of the world’s population is obese. The cost of obesity is more than the cost of smoking and the cost of armed violence and terrorism. It is on the rise globally and it is affecting billions of people worldwide.

Cardiovascular disease is the number 1 cause of mortality globally. In 2015, the WHO estimated 17.7 million who died from some sort of CVD. This number represents 31% of all deaths in the world. Heart disease – 17 million people die from CVD which include heart attacks and strokes. It is the world’s leading cause of death. Currently, we are spending $863 billion on conditions related to CVD. This number is expected to rise in 2030 to $1,044 billion.

In 2012, there were 14 million cases of cancer worldwide. It is the second leading cause of mortality worldwide. The most common deaths due to cancer are: lung, liver, stomach, and breast. In 2015, the total cost of cancer therapeutics and medicines reached $107 billion. This was a 11.5% increase in the spending over the last year.

High blood pressure is the greatest burden in developing countries. In 2015, it was shown that 1.13 billion people were living with hypertension. It has been estimated that high blood pressure has caused around 7 million deaths on a global scale. In 2001, the cost associated with high blood pressure was $370 billion.

In 2007, according to a recent study, the cost of treating Asthma in the US was at $56 billion. This means Asthma cost $3,259 per person that year. In Europe, it was estimated that the total cost of asthma was €19,3 billion in 2011. The group for the study were Europeans from 15 years of age to 64 years. In the Asia-Pacific region, the cost of direct and indirect treatments of asthma cost from $184 in Vietnam to $1,189 in Hong Kong.

Mental Illness is not something many cultures invest money and time understanding about, therefore, it may be hard to pin exactly which mental illnesses are costing the world. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality estimated a cost of $57.5B in 2006 for mental health care just in the U.S. On a global scale, costs contributed to mental illnesses go up to $2.5 trillion in 2010. This number is projected to increase to over $6 trillion by the time we are in 2030.

Kidney disease is a health crisis. In 2005, there were approximately 58 million deaths contributed to kidney disease worldwide according to the World Health Organization. While chronic kidney disease is be treatable, it can lead to death. If diagnosed and treated early, it’s possible to prevent the progression of kidney disease. The global cost associated with kidney disease has surpassed $1 trillion.

What are some of the preventive measures other countries are taking to reduce the cost of diabetes?

On a global level, there needs to be an emphasis on how important lifestyle changes are in order to prevent or delay diabetes. The population needs to be educated on the importance of making healthier food choices and increasing activity levels.

While type 2 diabetes is definitely on the rise, small tweaks in a person’s daily lifestyle can save them and their nation the staggering costs that come with treating diabetes. Dr. Ezzati, who was a senior scientist in the study led by Imperial College London, also emphasises the need for financially accessible and effective health care systems in order to cut costs related to diabetes.

Health care representatives can relay healthy lifestyle advice to their clients and patients. The other most important factor to remember is the rise of obesity globally. Obesity has doubled since 1980. In 2014, the WHO determined that 39% of adults’ ages 18 years old and older are overweight or obese.

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