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Americans Who Don't Know They Have Diabetes Incur $18 Billion in Health Expenses Each Year
Date:5/20/2009

Because people with undiagnosed diabetes cannot be identified using medical claims, the study identified a proxy for the undiagnosed population--people within two years of first diagnosis. The study compared medical claims from 2004 and 2005 for two groups: the undiagnosed proxy population consisting of 29,770 people diagnosed with diabetes in 2006, and 3.2 million people with no history of diabetes during this three-year period. People in the former group who went on to develop diabetes were shown to have significantly more ambulatory care, emergency visits and hospital stays than those in the group who did not develop diabetes.

Diabetes is a complex disease that affects virtually every system in the body. Diabetes is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, neurological symptoms and renal and endocrine complications. Diabetes is the nation's leading cause of blindness and amputations. Many people newly diagnosed with diabetes already have chronic conditions linked to the disease, such as neuropathy, arterial disease, cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.

"We would expect to see a significant impact on cost if diabetes were detected and managed early," Dall said. "The goal is to substantially slow the progression of the disease with aggressive management of diet, exercise and medicine so that costly complications can be avoided."

A separate study published in the journal broke down the costs associated with diagnosed cases of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. While about 90-95 percent of people with diabetes have Type 2, or adult-onset diabetes, costs for the 5-10 percent of people with Type 1 diabetes were shown to be far higher on an individual basis. People with Type 1 diabetes have twice as many physician visits for complications compared with people with Type 2 diabetes.

The average Type 1 patient with diabetes under age 44 had annual medical costs of $4,044
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SOURCE National Changing Diabetes Program
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