If You Get Diabetes, You'll Pay

By Natalie Stein, BS Food Science, BS Nutritional Sciences, MS Human Nutrition, MPH Public Health

December 14th, 2017

Having pre-diabetes means that you are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes, and that serves as a wake-up call. It is a good time to work on some healthy lifestyle changes, because doing so can cut your risk of getting diabetes by over 50%.

Healthy food can have the reputation of being expensive, but if you are concerned that you cannot afford to pay for nutritious food and other costs of healthy living, consider this: the costs of diabetes go beyond health problems. Diabetes can hit your wallet just as hard. In fact, this is why you may not be able to afford not taking on a healthy lifestyle.

 

A National Burden


Diabetes costs the country around $250 billion each year. Medical costs come from hospitalizations, the cost of prescription drugs to manage diabetes and treat complications, and doctors’ visits. Non-medical, or indirect, costs come from missed days from work, reduced productivity while at work, and patient disability.

 

The Average Costs per Person


Each diabetes patient spends on average nearly $10,000 per year, including an average of $1,600 out of pocket, or $133 per month. Medications alone can cost $200 per month if you are on one medication, or $500 for  multi-drug regimen. Can you think of any other ways to spend $10,000? A couple family vacations or a down payment on a new car comes to mind!

 

Your Own Outlook


As you might expect, the younger you are when you are diagnosed, the more you can expect to pay for diabetes over your lifetime. A 45-year-old can expect to pay, on average, $124,600 on diabetes care and complications over her lifetime, while a patient diagnosed at age 65 will spend about $35,900 in total. The numbers increase for people who develop diabetes complications.

Needless to say, your personal outlook is a lot rosier than those averages if you can prevent diabetes in the first place! Seeing these numbers may motivate you even more to take charge of your health and do what you can to prevent diabetes.

 

Are You Ready to Invest in Your Health?


Sometimes the healthy choices seem expensive, but they are minimal compared to the cost of diabetes and complications.

  • $5 more per week could get you an extra 5 servings of vegetables per day.

  • $2 more per week can let you upgrade from fatty to lean meat every single meal.

  • $200 per year can get you the shoes and clothes you need to work out.

  • $3 per month can let you use olive oil instead of butter.

In addition, those examples do not include the examples of healthy choices that are absolutely free, such as standing up once an hour to stretch, buying plain instead of sugary flavored oatmeal, cooking your own dried beans instead of using salty canned ones, and turning off your smartphone a full half-hour before bedtime.

The costs of these and many other healthy choices are so small compared to the costs of diabetes that they may convince you that you can afford to work to adopt healthy behaviors on a daily basis. If you are ready to get healthier and lose weight, your personal Lark coach is ready, too! Chat with your health coach whenever you want, and get tips and encouragement. Together, you can work towards getting those health numbers where you want them to be.

 

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At Risk for Diabetes? Find Out.