Diabetes Conference - The Burden of Diabetes in the United States


Diabetes Update #7 Day 3, Sunday June 12 from the American Diabetes Association National Meeting

Dr. Ruchi Mathur offers perspectives of interest on topics from the American Diabetes Association's 65th Annual Scientific Sessions (held in San Diego, California June 10-14, 2005)

Medical Podcast

Listen now to Day 3, The Burden of Diabetes in the United States - from Dr. Ruchi Mathur who is at the diabetes conference in San Diego  (MP3 3.20min 3.05MB)

Welcome to the third day of the American Diabetes Association's scientific sessions. This is Dr. Ruchi Mathur. Today gave us a chance to hear from the president of the ADA, as he outlined the problems facing the United States and the burden of diabetes.

In 1985 there were an estimated 6.4 million cases of type 2 diabetes in this country, accounting for a cost of 14 billion dollars in health care spending. In 2003, this number has increased dramatically. An estimated 13.8 million people have diabetes in the United States, with an additional 5 million walking around undiagnosed. The cost is now 132 billion dollars in health care spending a year. To make matters worse, there are 1.3 million new cases diagnosed annually. In addition, there are 41 million Americans with pre-diabetes, which we now know is also a major health risk.

If things keep going in this direction, the future for diabetes looks pretty gloomy and the next generation of Americans by the year 2030 faces a dire prediction. It is estimated 23 million Americans will have type 2 diabetes. 100 million will have pre-diabetes and the cost of treating diabetes will cost us 250 billion dollars annually. This will be enough to bankrupt the health care system.

What is the reason for this acceleration in diabetes prevalence? First, the population is changing. We have a population that lives to an older age, and that itself is a risk for diabetes. In addition, there is a growing minority population that has a higher incidence of diabetes genetically. Second, there is an increased attempt improving detection and awareness, making the disease more at the forefront for diagnosis. Third, the criteria for the diagnosis of diabetes changed in 1997. This new tighter criteria allowed for an additional 1 million people to fall into the definition of diabetes. Finally, obesity has increased dramatically in the last 2 decades. As an important contributor to insulin resistance and to the development of diabetes, the epidemic of obesity is such an important factor. At present 1 in every 3 Americans is obese and almost 2 in every 3 is overweight.

So what needs to be done? As was stated in the ADA President's address today, we must invest in research on the causes and treatment of diabetes, we must develop a chronic care model that allows for cost effective health care delivery and education, we must focus on prevention of the disease, and most importantly we must put a lot of effort into prevention and control of obesity.

While these statements were made in a room of health care professionals, to successfully implement change, we need the support of community, families and individuals to achieve the goal of reducing the burden of diabetes. Read and hear the next installment from the conference.

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