The cost to care for diabetics in the United States has increased dramatically over the last five years, but a study conducted by researchers at Wake Forest University may have identified a method to help diabetics better control their health.
The American Diabetes Association estimates that care for diabetics, including diabetes supplies, hospitalizations, medications and other associated expenses cost $245 billion in 2012. The ADA last estimated the total annual costs for diabetics in 2007. At that time, the total cost of diabetes was estimated at $174 billion.
The staggering increase shows why it’s vital for diabetics to properly manage their diabetes. According to the National Diabetes Education Program, people with diabetes should:
- Follow their meal plan.
- Get 30-60 minutes of physical activity per day.
- Stop smoking.
- Ask for help if you need it.
- Check your blood glucose and blood pressure as directed by your doctor.
- Take medications regularly.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
These are excellent tips but putting them into practice is often sometimes easier said than done. Education and information are great tools, but it can be difficult for diabetics to follow through on a plan of care if they lack encouragement and the ability to adapt to a changing environment.
Fortunately, researchers at Wake Forest University may have discovered a program that helps people control their diabetes which lowers the overall cost of their care.
The Healthy Living Partnerships to Prevent Diabetes (HELP PD) Study used community health workers stationed in local recreation centers. The workers implemented a problem-solving, empowerment-based program to encouraged people lose weight. Participants worked together as a group to identify barriers that kept them from losing weight and find ways to overcome their obstacles.
HELP participants lost an average of 13 pounds and kept it off during the course of the two-year study.
Weight loss helped program participants lower their overall cost of care. The Wake Forest researchers who conducted the study say the cost of participants’ care during the two-year study was around $850, compared to $2,631 per person recorded in a comparison, benchmark study.
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