High lifetime medical costs for type 2 diabetes revealed

Fri, 09 Aug 2013
Treating type 2 diabetes and related complications costs each sufferer an average of nearly $85,000 (or roughly £54,740) over their lifetime, a new study has revealed.

The research, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, was carried out in an effort to understand the financial return on preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes, as well as to get a sense of the long-term financial impact of new cases of diabetes and its complications.

"This has become increasingly important given the rapid increase of the number of the incident cases in the US and worldwide," said lead author Xiaohui Zhuo, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Instead of just focusing on the economic burden of treating type 2 diabetes in a given year, Zhuo and colleagues created a simulation model to examine direct medical costs in people newly diagnosed with the metabolic disorder over a lifetime.

Direct medical costs include both the costs of treating diabetes, such as medication, testing supplies and GP visits, and for treating complications such as heart disease, nerve damage, kidney disease, eye problems and amputation.

The model revealed that a man diagnosed with type 2 diabetes aged between 25 and 44 can expect to incur related costs of $124,700 ( £80,304) over his lifetime, while a woman diagnosed at the same age may incur related costs of $130,800 ( £84,232) over her lifetime.

In addition to lifetime costs being slightly higher for women than for men, the model showed that the costs for treating type 2 diabetes and its complications increase the earlier in life the diagnosis is made.

The researchers also found that treating diabetic complications accounts for over half (53%) of a type 2 diabetes patient's lifetime medical costs.
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