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ADS: Diabetes treatment costs rise 41% in 5 years

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 07 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Mar 08 2013 06:24:19 AM CST

The cost of treating diabetes in the U.S. has skyrocketed over the past few years.

The cost of treating diabetes in the U.S. has skyrocketed over the past few years.

From 2007 to 2012 the cost of diabetes medications jumped a staggering 41 percent.
Doctors say two groups, the elderly and the obese, are contributing to the rise of Type 2 diabetes cases in the country.

“We're seeing more and more patients with diabetes in combination with elevated blood pressure, cholesterol, as well as obesity. All that leads to the increase cost and care of our diabetic patients,” said Dr. Robert McCauley of Lehigh Valley Health Network.

In five years the cost has increased by 41 percent but doctors say it's not because of new cases.

“We're having safer medications which allow us to treat the patients more aggressively to get to our targets," said McCauley. "Also using more insulin therapy, we're actually hopefully preventing long term complications. Which hopefully in the long run will reduce the cost of diabetes care.”

Another part of the rising cost is the complications a person with diabetes may have to deal with.

“Increase risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, kidney damage, blindness, loss of limbs, increase of dementia,” McCauley said.

Doctors say while medication is working, people should make one other change.
“Lifestyle changes. Patients are watching their diet, exercising, that can often help bring down the cost of diabetes because we don't have to use medications as much,” he said.

Doctors say gastric bypass surgery does help treat diabetes, but should be used as a last ditch effort to control it.