Diabetes currently affects nearly 25 million Americans and is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, and that number is expected to grow.
According to an article in the Fiscal Times, ninety-five percent of diabetes cases in America are Type 2, which typically affects the elderly, the obese, and a growing number of children.
This epidemic is costly to our healthcare system:
- One of every five health care dollars is spent caring for someone with diabetes.
- Diabetics have medical expenditures that are 2.3 times higher than other victims of chronic disease
- They have more frequent and longer hospital stays, more doctor and emergency visits, more nursing facility stays, more home health visits, and more prescription drug and medical supply use.
- It is estimated that with 95 percent of cases being Type 2 diabetes, $206 billion is being spent on a disease that can largely be controlled by diet and exercise.
(Sources: Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org, August 19, 2010; The Fiscal Times, http://www.thefiscaltimes.com, August 19, 2010; Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Report, http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov, August, 2010)