What is the cost of diabetes?

We often think of the cost of a disease in terms of what medical appointments and medications cost individuals. However, the cost of chronic diseases like diabetes affects all of us.

The cost of diabetes each year in the United States is staggering. According to Diabetes Care, a journal published by the American Diabetes Association, the estimated cost of diabetes increased by 41 percent from 2007 to 2012. The estimated amount spent in 2012 was over $245 billion dollars, or about $7900 for each individual diagnosed with diabetes. That dollar amount is only for the cost of having diabetes and does not include the dollars spent for other medical costs a person may have.

What is the difference in medical related expenses for what a diabetic has to spend compared to a non-diabetic? Great question! Here are some of the associated costs a person with diabetes incurs:

  • Physician office visits directly related to diabetes care
  • Hospital care resulting from diabetes related causes
  • Prescription drugs such as insulin or oral medications needed for blood sugar regulation
  • Diabetic supplies, including glucometers to measure blood sugar, lancets to poke fingers, test strips used to collect a drop of blood, antiseptic wipes to clean fingers before and after testing, cotton balls, logs to record blood sugar and/or food intake.

According to Michigan State University Extension, the following tips can help people with diabetes take positive steps to reduce their cost of diabetes and the related cost to the community:

  • Ask your health provider for information regarding self-management skills to reduce your risk of diabetic complications.
  • Make an appointment with a registered dietician to learn the types of food to eat and the proper portions.
  • Contact your local hospital for a Certified Diabetes Educator and sign up for educational classes that will cover everything from medications, to healthy nutrition, to physical activity.
  • Contact your local MSU Extension office for information on evidence-based diabetes educational programs, including Dining with Diabetes and Diabetes PATH.
  • If you currently don’t have diabetes but have a family history or are just curious to find out if you’re at risk, take the Diabetes Risk Assessment. If it turns out that you are at risk for developing diabetes, MSU Extension offers the National Diabetes Prevention Program. Through this program you will set goals to achieve a five to seven percent weight loss and increase your physical activity to 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week, which result in significantly lowering your risk of developing diabetes.

Diabetes can be costly, costly to you and to your community. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be. If you know someone with diabetes or who might be at risk of diabetes, share this information with them. If you have diabetes, start making small positive changes each day that can save dollars for you and your community.

For more information about diabetes, preventing diabetes or taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle, contact your local MSU Extension office.

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