Economic Costs of Diabetes

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When it comes to the costs of the growing epidemic of type 2 diabetes, the Canadian Diabetes Association wants Canadians to know ‘we can pay now or pay more later.’

Most Canadians now know that the number of Canadians diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is set to rise dramatically, thanks to our status as a nation of aging, overweight and increasingly sedentary people. What Canadians may not yet understand is the economic impact this growth will bring.

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“Canadians spend an estimated $9 billion a year in direct and indirect costs to treat people with diabetes and its health complications,” explains Christine Smillie, National Associate Director, Public Policy and Government Relations. “That figure will only rise in the years to come as more of us are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.”

“Health care systems should choose now to invest $2,000 to $5,000 per year to support the person who has diabetes to manage it properly,” said Smillie. “The alternative is to wait, and spend $50,000 to provide that person with kidney dialysis each year, or spend $74,000 for the cost of a leg amputation. The choice is clear: we can pay now, or pay more – much more – later.”

Ontario has experienced a 31% increase in the number of people with diabetes in just five years (1995 to 1999). That while people with diabetes make up 6% of Ontario’s population, they experience an inordinate share of those diabetes complications most costly to treat: 32% of heart attacks, 43% of heart failure cases, 51% of new dialysis cases and 70% of limb amputations.

More than two million Canadians have diabetes and this number is expected to increase dramatically as the population ages. Risk factors include being over the age of 45, being overweight and being related to a person with diabetes.

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