Diabetes: As Costly As War

Last week, results of an ADA-commissioned study were declared indicating that uncontrolled diabetes is costing this nation $174 billion a year. This makes it as costly as war (the battles in Iraq, Afghanistan and the global war on terrorism combined), and more costly than repairing our worst natural disasters, like Hurricane Katrina. I’m still attempting to get my thoughts around this info.

The ADA actually says this quote is most likely an understatement, because “it omits the social price of intangibles such as pain and suffering, care supplied by non-paid health professionals, excessive medical costs associated with undiagnosed diabetes, and diabetes-attributed costs for health care expenditures.” Also not included are health care system administrative expenses, over-the-counter drugs, clinician training programs, and infrastructure and research development. Yikes!

At this speed, diabetes “will ruin a generation of Americans,” says Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health, quoted in . Take a Look at the ADA advertisement campaign about those shocking revelations:

You might even get an instant figure on how much money diabetes is costing your state or Congressional district working with this fast online DIABETES COST CALCULATOR.

I understand all this is intended to jar this nation’s direction into action. However, as an “out of the closet” PWD, here is what I am thinking: It seems as though that could cause quite a tide of bitterness among those taxpayers not so in-the-know about diabetes, ie. The factors and the gap in Types of diabetes. Will many currently have great reason to sneer at anyone affected by this disease and think: you people are draining the machine?

The remarks on the USA Today article are pretty intriguing. Some individuals did not take kindly to the comparison of the chronic illness with war. Some complained that “the village idiot (still) will not allow stem cell therapy.” And get this: just one brash commenter notes that “if the taxpayers are paying for items, we could set conditions on financing. I think you should have to present an ID whenever buying food. Your data will be referenced and a computer will let you know what foods you’re permitted to purchase or eat.” That seems awfully punitive and invasive to me.

Rather, I like the thinking of a fellow diabetes blogger (age 23, Type 1), who writes: “What would happen if this sum of money would be given to researchers that are looking for a remedy or provided to teachers in order for people to have a true understanding of what living with diabetes means, how they could protect against Type 2 diabetes, respectively?”

Now that is using your pricey diabetic head.

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This content is made for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content isn’t medically reviewed and doesn’t adhere to Healthline’s editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline’s partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.

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