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Defeat Diabetes
150 153rd Ave,
Suite 300

Madeira Beach, FL 33708

"The United States of Diabetes"

Posted: Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Diabetes will threaten the nation's economy as much as it does the health of individuals and the U.S. will spend $3.35 trillion on diabetes-related care in the next decade.

"By 2020, an estimated 52 percent of the adult population will have diabetes or pre-diabetes," according to a new report titled "The United States of Diabetes," issued by United Health Group.

If that happens, the nation will spend $3.35 trillion on diabetes-related care over the next decade, including private, Medicare, Medicaid and uninsured spending. Diabetes and pre-diabetes could account for about 10 percent of health care spending by 2020. The annual cost in 2020 could be $500 billion, up from an estimated $194 billion this year in spending for medical care related to pre-diabetes or diabetes, not total health spending by those patients with those conditions.

The report states that consumers with diabetes who interacted with the health care system cost on average $11,700 for health care in 2009, compared to $4,400 for the remainder of population. The 2009 average rises to $20,700 a year for a person with complications related to diabetes, such as heart and kidney disease, nerve damage, blindness and strokes.

The numbers were derived from its 10 million insurance customers.

In the workplace, the negative effects on productivity and the rising burden on employers will go up accordingly if trends continue.

This scale of numbers can push health care insurance reform into the background. When a disease like diabetes swamps the health care system, the capacity is strained. Doctors' offices and hospitals will overflow, causing bills -- not to mention insurance premiums for everyone -- to rise higher than they would otherwise.

About 27 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes. The report states that another 67 million are estimated to have pre-diabetes. More than 60 million of the people with pre-diabetes do not even know it because often there are no symptoms.

The recession and the rising costs of employer-sponsored health care are widening the spread of diabetes. Some companies have eliminated their wellness programs to cut costs. When workers are not tested routinely for blood-sugar levels, they do not see the warning signs.

The UnitedHealth report dwells on the relationship between diabetes and obesity. Just gaining weight can add to the diabetes risk. A weight gain of 11 to 16 pounds doubles the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Gaining 17 to 24 pounds nearly triples the risk.

More than half of adults who are overweight or obese have either diabetes or pre-diabetes. That should be a warning sign, even without knowing blood-sugar counts.

Source:, UnitedHealth's report "United States of Diabetes" Dec 2010

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150 153rd Ave, Suite 300
Madeira Beach, FL 33708


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