Pandemics cost billions. At this moment, America is fighting two pandemics – COVID-19 and diabetes. The coronavirus may continue to generate headlines, but diabetes is affecting the lives of more Americans than the virus ever has. The costs are hitting families, businesses, and the government.
Every year diagnosed diabetes costs $327 billion according to the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) latest data. The figure has been rising continuously over the past few years. When it was last evaluated in 2012, the cost of diabetes stood at $245 billion. That is an increase of 26%. It is also more than the gross domestic product of a number of European countries.
The ADA estimates that of the total cost, $237 billion are spent on direct medical costs and a staggering $90 billion is attributed to reduced productivity. These indirect costs are more than any business can afford to ignore.
In addition, there are the costs of undiagnosed diabetes and prediabetes. They add up to more than $30 billion and $43 billion, respectively.
Diabetes stops businesses from running as efficiently as they could otherwise.
Most importantly, the illness leads to unplanned absences. The ADA estimates that these absences alone cost American businesses more than $3 billion every year. Both employed and unemployed Americans with diabetes suffer from reduced productivity in all aspects of their life.
Over time, diabetes is likely to cause serious complications and disability, leaving sufferers unable to work. The final consequence of diabetes is early mortality, and the ADA estimates that the U.S. economy loses nearly $20 billion annually on account of that alone.
One in ten Americans currently suffers from diabetes. As a consequence, their body struggles to break down sugars consumed with their daily food intake. Our bodies transform sugar into fuel, which is needed to run our cells. Type 1 diabetes usually develops at a young age and is closely linked to genetics. With this condition, the pancreas stops producing insulin, the hormone responsible for breaking down glucose into energy.
Type 2 diabetes develops later in life and is closely linked to a patient’s lifestyle. With this condition, a patient’s body does not use insulin as efficiently as it would in a healthy person.
Type 2 diabetes develops slowly. In most people, it is preceded by a serious medical condition called prediabetes. Anyone diagnosed as prediabetic has higher blood sugar levels than normal. However, the values are not yet high enough for the person to be diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic.
In the United States, every third person is currently considered to be prediabetic. More than 80% of those people are unaware of the danger to their health. Undiagnosed diabetes is a hidden pandemic that affects businesses across the U.S.
Prediabetes can be controlled. In some cases, it is even reversible with lifestyle changes and a healthier diet. These changes come at a much lower cost than those associated with chronic diabetes.
The biggest obstacle to solving the diabetes problem in the United States is the fact that it is hidden. Drawing attention to it within your organization is the first step towards offering your team a healthier work environment.
Diabetes screening is simple. Diabetes screening platform from TrueCare™ offers each of your team members a free assessment highlighting whether they are at risk for prediabetes. The assessment is quick and convenient. Depending on the outcome, further tests can follow. Individual employees receive personalized guidance and suggestions to help them improve their lifestyles and prevent diabetes.
As all of your team participate and take steps towards a healthier lifestyle, your organization as a whole develops a more health-focused company culture. The results are beneficial for employers as well as employees.
Employers benefit from increased employee productivity and a lower rate of unplanned absences. Both parties stand to gain from lower healthcare costs and could save thousands annually. These changes go beyond employee wellbeing: the California Medical Association has referred to diabetes prevention as an “effective financial strategy”.
Diabetes screening at work has the potential to increase health equity for your business. Researchers have found that traditional diabetes prevention and screening programs struggle to reach high-risk populations.
Offering screening to all employees is a step towards solving this problem. Educating teams about healthy choices and making those choices easy on a daily basis are additional steps towards a healthier, happier workforce.
Diabetes screening allows business owners to help stop another pandemic. Your employees and your organization’s bottom line are worth it.
TrueCare™ is a nationwide Health & Wellness platform for families and businesses providing end-to-end solutions for COVID-19 testing, screening, vaccination, home care, and corporate well-being services.