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Financial Burden Hits Patients with Diabetes Diagnosis

Extra medical bills are on top of those associated with aging

FRIDAY, Nov. 28 (HealthDay News) -- The additional medical costs of diabetes, on top of medical expenses associated with aging, are $158 a year, and will cost a newly diagnosed 50-year-old in the United States an extra $4,174 in medical expenditures versus his or her counterpart without diabetes, according to an article published in the December issue of Diabetes Care.

Justin G. Trogdon, Ph.D., and Thomas Hylands, of RTI International in Research Triangle Park, N.C., analyzed data from the 2000-2004 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey linked to the 1998-2003 National Health Interview Survey of 46,203 people.

The data revealed that, in addition to the average $158 annual increase in medical care, diabetes complications account for another $75 each year. The effect is seen at any age and accumulates over time, the researchers point out. The additional costs stem from the impact of diabetes-related medical expenditure and the fact that management of blood glucose and insulin levels becomes more difficult and typically requires multiple therapies over the long term, the report indicates.

"To our knowledge, these are the first nationally representative estimates for the U.S. of the expected trajectory of medical expenditures after diagnosis of diabetes," the authors write. "They provide additional evidence highlighting the benefits of diabetes prevention and control. Delaying the development of diabetes will delay the steady rise in medical expenditures that accompanies it."

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