According to a HealthMine report based on a survey of people diagnosed with diabetes and pre-diabetes, diabetic patients still struggle to manage their disease. The report, entitled “HealthMine Diabetes Report: The State and Impact of Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes,” offers insight into how to improve individuals’ engagement with chronic disease in their population, ultimately improving their lives and reducing healthcare costs.
Diabetes can be perceived as the inability of the individual’s endocrine system to regulate the volume of insulin present in the bloodstream. Due to all the devices required by diabetics to treat and control the disease, diabetes is one of the most expensive chronic conditions in America today.
Despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s (CDC) report that the number of new diabetes cases is decreasing, HealthMine’s survey showed that individuals diagnosed with diabetes still face significant health risks and challenges in coping with the disease.
Mimi Guarneri, MD, FACC, ABIHM noted in a press release, “The majority of diabetes is totally preventable through lifestyle change. But most of those who struggle with the condition don’t have the right tools.(…) If we support people with a system that promotes health through the power of nutrition, mind-body connection and community, we can empower them to lighten the physical, emotional and financial burden of this disease.” These struggles have a direct impact on the patient’s overall health, productivity, and healthcare costs.
According to the report, the key findings were:
Health Risks: Diabetes and pre-diabetes patients are known to have certain risk factors. For instance, 30% of individuals analyzed (509 in total) in the study were smokers, while 59% were not in a healthy weight range.
Pre-diabetes: 30% of the individuals diagnosed with pre-diabetes were not aware the condition could be reverted, and 58% of the pre-diabetics did not take any action to minimize their risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Disease Management: 73% of the cohort analyzed reported difficulties in coping with their condition, and 66% felt their diabetes was not totally under control.
Health Complications: 67% had experienced health complications, while 72% reported at least one other chronic disorder. Researchers found that one out of five individuals in the cohort struggled with cardiovascular disease, chronic pain, or mental illness.
Impact on Healthcare Costs: Due to their chronic condition, 39% of the individuals visited the Emergency Room or Urgent Care within the past year; 48% reported losing work time in the past year, and 52% noted a reduction in their work productivity due to their condition.
Mobile Health: Researchers found that 74% of the individuals in the cohort used mobile applications daily, although only 45% use them to monitor their diabetes/pre-diabetes.
Wellness Programs: 37% of the cohort took part in a sponsored wellness program, and 91% of the members of wellness plans, with access to disease management and/or medication adherence programs, actually do participate in them.
“Today, diabetes is in control of Americans. We need to turn that around,” concluded Bryce Williams, CEO and President of HealthMine. “Personal clinical engagement is the key to educating and motivating those who are sick to take action and take charge of their chronic disease. With better guidance from plan sponsors and real disease management, we can start to reign in the $322 billion annual bill for diabetes.”