Monday, November 30, 2009

Eating Ourselves to Death

Yes, some people are unlucky, the ones stuck with the bad genes that give them diabetes. But most people who develop diabetes inflict the disease on themselves by overeating and becoming obese. Thus, the nation has two ways to cut the cost of treating this leading cause of death. We can go staight at it, tackling it with expensive drugs. OR we can all learn to eat sensibly, lose some weight, get a little exercise and avoid the disease -- all without spending an extra dime. In fact, spending less, a lot less.

The study claims that by the middle of the century, the US might find itself spending $336 billion a year to treat diabetes. OR, if we ate right and went for a brisk walk every day, we might need to spend about $0.00 to fight a disease that would largely disappear.


Diabetics in U.S. May Double in 25 Years, Tripling Health Costs

Nov. 27 -- The number of Americans with diabetes may almost double in 25 years, and the annual cost of treating them may triple to $336 billion, according to a study published today in the journal Diabetes Care.

Without new programs to assure that people get health care to manage their condition, 44.1 million people in the U.S. will have diabetes by 2034, from 23.7 million today, the report said. The number of diabetics on Medicare, the government plan for the elderly, will reach 14.1 million from 6.5 million today.

The analysis by researchers at the University of Chicago was intended to give White House and Congressional budget officials a way to estimate costs over time, said Michael O’Grady, a senior fellow at the university’s National Opinion Research Center.

Diabetes drugs were the fourth-best selling medications in 2008, with $27.3 billion in global sales, according to IMS Health, a Norwalk, Connecticut-based company that tracks prescription trends.

“To do nothing is going to be extremely expensive,” O’Grady said in a Nov. 24 telephone interview. “It’s going to mean millions of Americans continuing to get this disease and a lot of heartache.”

Copenhagen-based Novo Nordisk A/S, the world’s biggest maker of insulin, funded the study. The company sold $6.1 billion of insulin products in 2008.

Diabetes prevents people from breaking down sugar in their blood and can lead to complications including heart disease, kidney disease, vision loss and amputation of limbs. While some people have an inherited form of the condition, the majority of cases are linked to obesity.

Impact of Aging

The analysis by O’Grady and his colleagues included the impact of aging and obesity rates as well as the natural progression of the disease over time to come up with estimates on numbers and costs. They found diabetes treatment estimates of $113 billion this year would increase to $336 billion by 2033.

In their earlier work, the researchers concluded that the costs of paying for new programs would save money over time for people in their 20s, break even for people in their 30s and 40s, and cost more for people in their 50s and older.

“You have to spend money up front but you avoid blindness, kidney disease, amputations, heart attacks and stroke,” he said. “You can use savings from the young to offset the expenditures in the older groups,” O’Grady said.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Winfred Mann said...

Chronic disease cripples our populace and the economy.

Diabetes is a path to death. And most of it is preventable with lifestyle changes: exercise and weight control Eventually, it incurs heart disease--and this in only after a long, slow and painful process.

An alarming trend is the amount of diabetes showing up in elementary and high school children.

11:57 AM  
Blogger no_slappz said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:51 PM  
Blogger no_slappz said...

The most amazing and stupefying aspect of our approach to healthcare is the widespread and massive refusal to simply LIVE HEALTHY.

It is within our power to reduce healthcare bills simply by improving our lifestyles -- that's it. That's all it takes.

How did we get so lame?

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You fat pig!

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The most amazing and stupidfying...drumroll-no_slappz!

12:56 PM  

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