Undiagnosed Diabetes

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Apparently, there are more than 6 million American adults completely unaware that they have diabetes mellitus. And, according to a report in the research journal Population Health Management their undiagnosed health problems cost an estimated $18 billion each year.

Yiduo Zhang from the Lewin Group, Falls Church, Virginia, and colleagues at Ingenix Pharmainformatics, Cary, North Carolina, and Ingenix Research, Basking Ridge, New Jersey, studied the healthcare use patterns of a group of people during a two-year period leading up to a diagnosis of diabetes. They then used these findings as the basis for economic estimates to work out how many other people may also have diabetes but are yet to be diagnosed.

The team reports that the healthcare costs associated with diabetes begin to increase at least eight years before diagnosis and grow at a faster rate shortly before and after diagnosis.

“Diabetes is one of the most devastating chronic diseases and costs the nation billions of dollars,” says the journal’s Editor-in-Chief David Nash of Jefferson School of Population Health, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

One can only hope that such estimates of latent diabetes are not another symptom of the medicalization of our lives. I assume not, but you never know…

Research Blogging IconZhang, Y., Dall, T., Mann, S., Chen, Y., Martin, J., Moore, V., Baldwin, A., Reidel, V., & Quick, W. (2009). The Economic Costs of Undiagnosed Diabetes Population Health Management, 12 (2), 95-101 DOI: 10.1089/pop.2009.12202

3 thoughts on “Undiagnosed Diabetes”

  1. Here are some very common symptoms of untreated diabetes:

    — Losing weight for no particular reason
    — Thirsty all the time despite drinking a lot of fluids
    — Urinating a lot

    1. @Chad Yes, the thirst thing was how an older friend of mine discovered he’d developed diabetes.

      @teqjack Scary…so you had no signs at all, not even hints like Chad just mentioned?

  2. There may well be a large number of undiagnosed cases.

    Part of this, though, may be that it often has no symptoms noticeable to the sufferer and is not much looked for. I learned of mine when the lab noticed high levels of potassium in a blood sample and called me to ask if I could give a comparison sample as it was potentially troubling with my diabetes: my what? First either I or my doctor knew of it…

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