Reining in Diabetes-Related Costs

Diabetes is a chronic condition that has been shown to be directly related to obesity and heart-related conditions. The strain that diabetes costs put on the healthcare system are well documented. At this year's 72nd Scientific Sessions, the American Diabetes Association featured several studies that aim to help rein in diabetes costs. Here are two studies that were highlighted.

Diabetes is a chronic condition that has been shown to be directly related to obesity and heart-related conditions. The strain that diabetes costs put on the healthcare system are well documented. At this year’s 72nd Scientific Sessions, the American Diabetes Association featured several studies that aim to help rein in diabetes costs. Here are two studies that were highlighted:

Medical Expenditures Associated With Diabetes: The Change in the Last Two Decades - Zhuo et al.

Zhuo et al based this study on the fact that, although advances in anti-diabetic medications and medical technologies have substantially changed the way diabetic patients are treated, the impact of these changes on medical expenditures has not been very well documented. In order to help provide some of this data, the research team examined data from the 1987 National Medical Expenditure Survey and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey in years 1997-98 and 2007-08 to produce nationally representative estimates of the medical utilization and expenditures attributed to diabetes in patients aged 90 years or less at 3 different times. The research team concluded that “from 1987 to 2008, the medical expenditure attributed to diabetes among persons without macrovascular complications declined in the first decade and changed little in the second decade.”

Chronic-Kidney Disease Progression and Associated Medical Costs in Type 2 Diabetes - Vupputuri et al.

Another common complication associated with type 2 diabetes is chronic kidney disease. Researchers estimated the rate of progression to chronic kidney disease and identified 25,583 members of the Kaiser Permanente Northwest and Georgia regions who had type 2 diabetes and a serum creatinine measurement in 2005. By estimating glomerylar filtration rate (GFR), Vupputuri et al assigned patients to baseline stages of kidney function and then examined all subsequent GFRs through 2010 to assess progression of kidney disease. The research team found that, “among patients who progressed to chronic kidney disease (stage 3 or greater), annual total medical costs approximately doubled after progression compared to pre-progression costs, even when dialysis costs were not included.” They also added that interventions designed to minimize progressive kidney damage would reduce the burder of chronic kidney disease in type 2 diabetes.

To read more about this study, please visit the American Diabetes Association’s website.