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:: By Lydialyle Gibson

:: Graphic by Allen Carroll

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Investigations ::


Diabetes, in dollars

Accounting for as many as 95 percent of U.S. diabetes diagnoses, Type 2 diabetes—the adult-onset form—afflicts more than 18 million Americans. Both financially and physically, the toll is heavy. Now researchers have calculated just how heavy. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists has released a study, coauthored by Harris School health economist Willard Manning, that found three of five diabetes patients suffer at least one associated complication: heart disease, renal failure, foot amputation, or blindness. Last year, the researchers revealed, the United States spent roughly $22.9 billion to treat diabetic complications, and out-of-pocket medical costs averaged $1,600 per patient, three times higher than for nondiabetics. Funded by drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline, the study measured the health-care burden ailment by ailment: in 2006 dollars, the annual per-capita cost of diabetes-related strokes totals $7,806 ($448 of which is paid out of pocket). For chronic kidney disease, it’s $9,002; for heart attacks the figure comes to $14,150.

graphic: fig1