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Eye problems, kidney damage and the like: high costs of complications from diabetes
Around seven million people with diabetes live in Germany. The disease not only causes damage to health, but also considerable economic burdens. Researchers have now broken down the costs of the various complications of diabetes.
More and more people suffer from diabetes
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 350 million people worldwide are currently affected by diabetes. According to a study, 700 million people are expected to develop diabetes in 2025. In this country too, the number of patients is increasing massively. This places a strain on the health system - also for financial reasons. Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München have now broken down the costs of the various complications of type 2 diabetes. They published the results in the journal Diabetes Care.
Disease can result in numerous complications
According to estimates, around seven million people in Germany are affected by type 2 diabetes. The disease “can lead to numerous secondary diseases. The likelihood of this is increased even in the early stages of diabetes, ”writes the Diabetes Information Service Munich on its website.
Diabetes often causes diseases of the cardiovascular system, such as a heart attack or chronic heart failure.
The nervous system is also affected.
According to expert estimates, around a third of diabetics develop a so-called diabetic neuropathy, which can be accompanied by sensations, sensitivity disorders, tingling in the limbs, numbness in the legs and arms as well as severe pain in the supply area of the affected nerve tract.
The supplying nerves of the feet are particularly often damaged, which can lead to those affected developing a so-called diabetic foot. In the worst case, an amputation is required.
Eye disorders that can lead to blindness and kidney damage that can lead to kidney failure are also typical complications of diabetes.
Costs are borne by society
Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München have now examined the health insurance data of over 300,000 people with diabetes and have broken down the costs of the various secondary diseases.
"We wanted to know how high the resulting costs are, which are borne by the health insurance companies and thus by society," says lead author Katharina Kähm in describing the approach taken by the study.
The doctoral candidate and her colleagues from the Institute for Health Economics and Management in Health Care (IGM) at Helmholtz Zentrum München examined data from 316,220 people with type 2 diabetes from 2012 to 2015.
High health costs due to complications from type 2 diabetes
Using this data, the researchers were able to determine the costs of the secondary diseases in detail.
The majority of type 2 diabetes only becomes noticeable in old age. Accordingly, the authors set up a sample calculation that is based on a man between 60 and 69 years of age.
In the quarter in which the corresponding secondary illness occurs, this is the cause of the case
- around 700 euros for an eye problem (retinopathy)
- around 3,000 euros for blind people
- around 3,400 euros for kidney damage
- in case of kidney failure (requiring dialysis) around 23,000 euros
- around 1,300 euros for a diabetic foot
- with an amputation of more than 14,000 euros
Improvement of prevention programs
“In addition, the average costs for cardiovascular disease range from 2,700 for angina pectoris to 20,000 euros for fatal ischemic complications,” adds Michael Laxy, group leader at IGM.
"The costs remain high even in the quarters after these secondary illnesses first occurred."
According to the authors, their study is the first of its size and level of detail. In the long term, it should lead to an improvement in preventive programs:
"The results show clinical and health policy makers the significant financial consequences of complications from diabetes," said Prof. Dr. Rolf Holle.
"So the study can support the planning and prioritization of new prevention and treatment programs in the management of type 2 diabetes."
In the future, the experts want to investigate the economic effects of several diseases that exist simultaneously. (ad)