Friday, June 08, 2007

Cost of Diabetes to Individuals

If you have diabetes, you know from experience the drain this disease places on your wallet. For those who haven't been diagnosed but are concerned about their risk, the following may provide impetus to make the lifestyle changes that could prevent or forestall the disease and its attendant costs.

In 1992, Rubin et al, reporting in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology estimated:1
"Per capita expenditures for confirmed diabetics ($11,157) were more than four times greater than for non-diabetics ($2,604)."
In 2002, the American Diabetes Association, reporting in their journal Diabetes Care wrote:2
"Per capita medical expenditures totaled $13,243 for people with diabetes and $2,560 for people without diabetes."
The last study reflects a cost to people with diabetes more than 5 times greater than the cost to those without diabetes. However, their diabetic population tended to be older than their non-diabetic population. Even after these researchers adjusted for differences in age, sex, and race/ethnicity, people with diabetes still had medical costs that were about 2.4 times higher.

Success at managing diabetes can ward off its complications. These include damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, nerves, and skin - all of which can be costly to treat. However, good management alone carries its own costs in:
  • Office visits (physician or endocrinologist, podiatrist, dentist, eye doctor, diabetes educator, dietitian).
  • Pharmaceuticals (If you use insulin your physician may be monitoring you every 3 months.)
  • Medical supplies.
  • Education classes, including visits with a dietitian.

Tip: To convert 1992 or 2002 dollars to 2007 dollars for effect of inflation (change in Consumer Price Index), visit the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator here.

Using this calculator:
$11,157 in 1992 has the same buying power as $16,436 in 2007.
$13,243 in 2002 has the same buying power as $15,215 in 2007.
This may not be the best estimate since the cost of healthcare has likely surpassed the cost of consumer goods in that time. But give it a try!

1 Health Care Expenditures For People With Diabetes Mellitus, 1992
2 Economic Costs Of Diabetes In The U.S. In 2002