Awareness of Diabetes Ketoacidosis to Watch Healthcare Costs through Prevention

Ann Bartlett Health Guide
  • I was reading an article with staggering statistics about diabetes and healthcare costs:

    • In 2007, diabetes accounted for $174 Billion dollars in healthcare costs in the US.
    • Diabetes accounts for 32 percent of all Medicare expenditures.
    • The "National Bill" for hospital stays related to diabetes totaled $58.2 Billion in 2007.
    • The nation spends $11,744 on each person with diabetes, compared to $2935 for those without diabetes.
    • An estimated 22 percent of hospital inpatient days in the US were incurred by people with diabetes in 2007.

    The Scope of Diabetes:

    • Nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes (7.8 percent of the population), with 17.9 million with diagnosis and 5.7 million being undiagnosed.
    • As many as 3 million people have type 1 diabetes.
    • Diabetes currently affects 246 million people worldwide and is expected to affect 380 million by 2025.
    • In the US, a new case of diabetes is diagnosed every 30 seconds; more than 1.6 million people are diagnosed each year.

    According to NIH, 24.15% of people with diabetes are estimated to be undiagnosed, putting them at risk for diabetes ketoacidosis, DKA.  "In the United States, DKA occurs at onset of diabetes 25 to 40 percent of cases."

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    If we have the month of November dedicated to diabetes awareness, where people are encouraged to be tested, how come we are still confused about the signs and symptoms of diabetes?  Confusion leads to waiting and waiting leads to DKA!


    Diabetes campaigns that build public awareness for the symptoms of diabetes have proven very effective in other countries.  In Parma, Italy, after a public campaign using posters and visual ads to illustrate signs of diabetes, the rate of DKA decreased from 78% to 12% at diagnosis!  The people of Parma, Italy, were aware to seek medical attention before DKA had a chance to develop.  It makes me wonder what would happen if instead of Viagra ads, we saw ads that focused on diabetes?


    Why am I suggesting a focus on DKA?  Because if we decrease DKA, we decrease many complications associated to diabetes, both type 1 and type 2.  We would also cut the cost of diabetes inpatient care.


    What is a basic ingredient to create a campaign? A simple blood glucose meter would solve some of this issue, if people knew to use them!


    Pharmaceuticals, who manufacture blood glucose meters, should put forward a "Diabetes Awareness Campaign." What if they packaged a basic meter as a "Diabetes Awareness box" with the signs and symptoms on the side of the box, and inside of this "Diabetes Awareness" box the companies added 5 test strips for consumers and add to the box a list of diabetes first steps.  I think it would be great to see a meter that advocates easy, simple help during uncertain times! Kind of like an early pregnancy test kit, it gives you the test and the follow up steps to take. 


    Do you have any ideas to share that you think are needed to boost diabetes awareness?




Published On: July 20, 2009