The Cost of Diabetes

17456_1269532813224_1076952025_30803996_7657050_nDiabetes is a problem globally, but particularly in industrialized regions or countries with westernized diets heavy in eggs and dairy.

As of 2012, there were 21 million diagnosed diabetics in the US.  There are 1.7 million new cases diagnosed each year.(1) More than half of the newly diagnosed cases are between the ages of 45 and 64.  While the disease impacts every age group, the sweet spot in terms of vulnerability is middle age.

Prediabetes involves people with glucose levels that are near the borderline for diagnoses and treatment.  There are an estimated 86 million Americans in this category.

The cost of treatment of known cases of diabetes is $176 million (2012).  That’s about 6% of total US spending on healthcare in that year, and doesn’t include medical costs for undiagnosed diabetes, and may not include all the costs for treatment of complications of diabetes.

Between diabetes and prediabetes, that’s almost 1/3 of the US population.

Basically diabetes is a big deal.


Diabetes is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from problems in how insulin is produced, how insulin works, or both. People with diabetes may develop serious complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and premature death.(1)

Prediabetes is a condition in which individuals have high blood glucose or hemoglobin A1C levels but nothigh enough to be classified as diabetes.(1)

A 2016 study suggests that hearing impairment should be added to the list of complications, and hearing testing should be a regular part of diabetes management.(2)

In a previous post, I discussed the behavior impact of diabetes, which can include verbal and physical abuse of loved ones.

The problem is that an estimated 27.8% of people with diabetes are undiagnosed.  That, and the failure of some who are diagnosed to follow dietary and treatment guidelines, means that millions are impacted by the disease, and may be receiving incorrect treatment.

Key  factors in diabetes are diet, exercise and weight.

You owe it to yourself, your family, your friends, and to everyone else who pays for health insurance to do what you can to manage your body.  What you do affects others.

And, no, I’m no poster child for being slim.  It’s something at which I have to work. Every day.

I also suggest reading Jessica Apple’s blog post,


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Diabetes Statistics Report: Estimates of Diabetes and Its Burden in the United States, 2014. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2014.
  2. American Medical Association, “Trends in Healthcare Spending.”



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