The diagnosis of type II diabetes has increased dramatically since 1990, and researchers are estimating that the prevalence will increase 64% by 2025. Approximately 53.1 million people will be affected by the disease, which is primarily the result of a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits. The burdens of a diabetic population on the nation are widespread; obesity and inactivity have become a norm, and as a result, younger generations are at greater risk of developing type II diabetes and other associated diseases such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and cardiovascular disease. In turn, the risk of disability during the prime working years increases; as do the associated medical costs of managing such a disease. Early detection and lifestyle changes can reduce this modern ‘epidemic’, but delivering this message to the most affected areas of the population has proven difficult. The Diabetes 2025 Model for the United States allows researchers to estimate the effects of the increased prevalence of diabetes on society, as well as highlight the benefits of changing one’s lifestyle to increase physical activity and make better food choices. Significantly, it identifies specific regions and subgroups most likely to develop the disease and offers recommendations that can dramatically improve the impending burden. “Diabetes…threatens all aspects of our nation’s well-being,” says Population Health Management Editor-in-Chief David B. Nash, M.D.
To illustrate, if 50% of pre-diabetic Americans could be convinced to alter lifestyle-related contributing factors, approximately 4.7 million fewer cases of diabetes would be diagnosed, thus saving the health-care system over $300 billion dollars in patient cost. This would still leave almost 50 million individuals living with diabetes, indicating an unwavering need to reach large segments of society in the hopes of motivating change. Alternatively, if 50% of diabetics were compliant with their currently-prescribed lifestyle changes, this could result in 305,000 fewer cases of renal failure (a savings of over $54 billion in dialysis costs) and 369,000 fewer amputations (a $15 billion savings in surgical and prosthetics costs). Clearly, type II diabetes is an epidemic the American population must deal with, and generating public awareness through campaigns targeting specific populations appears necessary to promote the needed changes.
(Population Health Management, 2012)