Diabetes costing Americans more than any other disease
About half of all health-care spending in the United States goes to treat a small group of diseases, according to new research. And diabetes is leading the pack, far outpacing other conditions in total dollars spent.
Researchers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation tracked the costs associated with 155 diseases for 18 years. Of that 155, a mere 20 were found responsible for over half of all medical expenditures.
Diabetes is the most expensive condition in terms of total dollars spent nationwide, costing $101 billion in diagnosis and treatment in 2013. Ischemic heart disease, the second-largest source of expenses, cost a total of $88 billion that year. The survey shows that diabetes-related costs have grown 36-times faster than those for ischemic heart disease, which kills more people than any other condition.
There are a variety of factors that drove diabetes spending up over that period, said lead author Joseph Dieleman, in an interview with CNBC. First, older people are more susceptible to the disease, and America's population is aging. It is also more prevalent overall, due to dietary and lifestyle changes, and health professionals are treating the condition more aggressively than they were in the past.
Dieleman told CNBC that the study is an attempt to map out the specific conditions that are driving spending, and identify the areas where efficiency or quality of service can be improved.
"So often the total amount money we spend on health care gets thrown around, and our sense was there is not as much information on what that money is actually spent on," Continue reading