Consequently, spending on diabetes will almost triple, rising from $113 billion to $336 billion, even with no increase in the prevalence of obesity, researchers at the University of Chicago reported.
“If we don't change our diet and exercise habits or find new, more effective and less expensive ways to prevent and treat diabetes, we will find ourselves in a lot of trouble as a population,” said Elbert Huang, who led the study.
The new estimates are far more rigorous, and more troubling, than previous predictions, said Huang, who is assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago (U-C).
A 1991 study stated that the number of Americans with diabetes would double, from 6.5 million in 1987 to 11.6 million by 2030, which, as it turns out, is less than half the number of cases in 2009.
“These projections stress the importance of prevention and education,” the authors declare. “The requisite change in life style, exercise, or nutrition habits will be more difficult than if a drug is developed for treatment.”
A retrospective 2008 study confirmed the predicted trends, showing that the number of Americans diagnosed with diabetes rose steadily from 10 million in 1994, to 14 million in 2000, to 19 million in 2007, and the annual cost–just for drugs–for people affected by diabetes nearly doubled in six years, rising from $6.7 billion in 2001 to $12.5 billion in 2007.
Much of the increase in cases and in costs will be driven by ageing “baby boomers”, the 77 million Americans born between 1946 and 1957 who are approaching the age of retirement, diabetes complications, and federal health insurance, a UC release said.
These findings are slated for publication in the December issue of Diabetes Care.