Diabetes – Costly and Dangerous

One of the main risks associated with obesity is type 2 diabetes, a serious and costly disease. A recent report from the American Diabetes Association estimated that the cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States 2012 was $245 billion, including $176 billion in direct medical costs and $69 billion in reduced productivity. And costs may be climbing even higher, due to increased cost of diabetes drugs.

According to a new study, in 2000, patients paid median out-of-pocket costs of $19 per prescription, which jumped to $36 in 2010. Researchers reported that driving this increase was a decline in the use of human synthetic insulin (from 96% to 15%), while use of short and long-acting analogs (glargine, detemir, aspart) increased (from 19% to 92%). Insulin analogs have become popular lately, thanks in part to the drug manufacturers effective marketing strategies. Short-acting analogs have gained popularity for their flexibility in dosing and convenience, and long-acting analogs for their potential to diminish nocturnal hypoglycemia. However, both of these drugs are more expensive than the old staple of human synthetic insulin, while results are mixed in terms of their increased benefit. The study found only a small decline in the rate of hypoglycemic events between 2000 and 2010: 21.1 versus 17.7 events per 1,000 person-years.

Obesity is one of the most important factors for the development of type 2 diabetes. Bariatric surgery has been shown to be exceptionally effective at improving diabetes. Recent research has compared surgery to standard diabetes care—generally medication and lifestyle counseling–and found that surgery is superior. Just last month, two more small studies added to the evidence, finding that blood sugar levels were more likely to improve among people who were randomly assigned to have surgery than among those who went through intensive diet and lifestyle programs instead.

If you are struggling with both obesity and diabetes, weight loss surgery may be a good option for you. Give us a call at 212-263-3166 to schedule a consultation, or register to attend an upcoming informational seminar here.