As diabetes becomes more common, costs continue to rise

The number of individuals receiving care for type 1 and type 2 diabetes more than doubled since the past decade, and the cost of caring for these patients is continuing to spiral out of control, according to a new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The report indicates that more than 19 million people said they were receiving care for diabetes in 2007, according to Health News Digest. This is up from 9 million in 1996. The 65 and older age group saw the most rapid increase in diabetes rates, with the 45 to 65 age group just behind.

Furthermore, the report cites the escalating costs of caring for those with the disease. Costs paid by all sources more than doubled, increasing from $18.5 billion in 1996 to $41 billion in 2007. Prescription drug costs along increased from $4 billion to $19 billion, the news source reports.

While the numbers were not all that surprising to some experts, they did say that they underscored the dire situation posed by the growing diabetes crisis.

"Of course, with more patients, there are more costs," Christine Resta, from the division of endocrinology at Maimonides Medical Center in New York, told Health Day News. "But even the cost per patient has gone up. Newer diabetes medications are expensive, often 10 times the cost of older generic medicines. When patients are diagnosed younger, they are more likely to eventually require multiple diabetes medications, which also drives up costs."

She added that the rise in prevalence type 2 diabetes in children as well as longer life expectancies for those with the disease have both contributed to the soaring cost of treatment.
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