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Diabetes Takes a Toll on Lifetime Earnings: Study
Date:1/10/2012

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Jan. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Diabetes is a costly disease, and new research suggests those costs may extend far beyond the obvious expense of medicine and related health care.

The study authors found that young people with diabetes were more likely to drop out of high school and, over a lifetime, could expect to earn about $160,000 less than those without diabetes.

"A lot of studies, when they look at the toll diabetes takes, look at medical expenses when people are much older. We wanted to look at people who were much younger, and to look at non-medical outcomes and expenses. We found a pretty large difference in individuals with diabetes and their peers," said Jason Fletcher, an associate professor in the division of health policy and administration at Yale University.

The findings are published in the January issue of Health Affairs.

More than 23 million people in the United States have diabetes, according to background information in the report. And, previous research from the American Diabetes Association has shown that direct medical costs average about $6,649 a year for people with diabetes.

However, direct medical costs aren't the only extra expenses faced by people living with diabetes.

The current study used data from the U.S. National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to attempt to assess some of those non-medical costs.

The study began between 1994 and 1995, and surveyed about 15,000 teens in grades 7 through 12. The same students were surveyed again at three different times: in 1996, 2001/2002 and in 2008. At the time of the last survey, the study participants were around 30 years old.

About one-quarter of a percent (approximately 385) of those studied said they had ever been diagnosed with diabetes. They weren't asked which type of diabetes they had. However, in a younger population, type 1 diabetes is the more p
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