Approximately 75 percent of all deaths in the United States can be attributed to ten causes, with the top three accounting for over 50 percent of all deaths. Heart disease remains the top killer, accounting for 1 in every 4 deaths. Even so, it’s the treatment of diabetes, and complications related to diabetes, that put the most strain on the U.S. healthcare system.
Diabetes leads a list of just twenty diseases that account for over half of all spending on health care in the United States. This is the finding of a new, comprehensive financial analysis published in the Dec. 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
It’s estimated that spending on diabetes diagnosis and treatment totaled $101 billion in 2013. Spending on diabetes has increased 36 times faster than spending on heart disease, researchers reported.
“After adjusting for inflation, we see that every year the U.S. is spending 6 percent more than we spent the year before on diabetes,” said lead researcher Joseph Dieleman, assistant professor at the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
“That’s really a remarkable growth rate, notably faster than the economy is growing or health care spending as a whole,” he said.
The annual growth rate on health care spending between the years 1996 and 2013 was, on average, 3.5 percent, Dieleman noted.
“Spending on diabetes grew twice as fast as all conditions combined” during that 18-year period, he said.
In total, Americans shelled out $2.1 trillion in 2013 on diagnosis and treatment of health conditions (17 percent of the total U.S. economy). This was the researcher’s conclusion their massive analysis of the federal data. This level of spending makes the U.S. health care system the fifth largest economy in the world, behind only the U.S., Chinese, Japanese and German national economies.
The researchers broke down the $2.1 trillion spent in 2013 across 155 different health conditions. The top 10 most costly health expenses in 2013 were:
- Diabetes — $101.4 billion.
- Ischemic heart disease — $88.1 billion.
- Low back and neck pain — $87.6 billion.
- High blood pressure — $83.9 billion.
- Injuries from falls — $76.3 billion.
- Depression — $71.1 billion.
- Dental care — $66.4 billion.
- Vision and hearing problems — $59 billion.
- Skin-related problems — $55.7 billion.
- Pregnancy and postpartum care — $55.6 billion.
Overall Numbers, Diabetes and Prediabetes
The following statistic come from the Diabetes Association:
- Prevalence: In 2012, 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3% of the population, had diabetes.
- Approximately 1.25 million American children and adults have type 1 diabetes.
- Undiagnosed: Of the 29.1 million, 21.0 million were diagnosed, and 8.1 million were undiagnosed.
- Prevalence in Seniors: The percentage of Americans age 65 and older remains high, at 25.9%, or 11.8 million seniors (diagnosed and undiagnosed).
- New Cases: 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year.
- Prediabetes: In 2012, 86 million Americans age 20 and older had prediabetes; this is up from 79 million in 2010.
- Deaths: Diabetes remains the 7th leading cause of death in the United States in 2010, with 69,071 death certificates listing it as the underlying cause of death, and a total of 234,051 death certificates listing diabetes as an underlying or contributing cause of death.