Diabetes: A Rising Health Crisis

While the country has been confronting the COVID-19  pandemic, another health crisis has been occurring. Diabetes related deaths for Americans has surpassed the 100,000 mark for the second year in a row. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), deaths increased by 17% in 2020 and 15% in 2021. In 2019, diabetes was the seventh-leading cause of death in America.

Diabetes is a rising issue. Over 11% of the population, about 37.3 million Americans, have diabetes. Another 96 million Americans have prediabetes, and 90% of those individuals are unaware they have prediabetes. If these trends continue, one in three Americans will develop diabetes in their lifetime. 

The overwhelming majority of diabetes cases, 91.2%, are type 2 diabetes, which is preventable. A simple prescription of healthy eating and active living can prevent type 2 diabetes from occurring. 

This data highlights the ongoing failure to address this completely preventable disease that is not only costing lives, but creating a financial burden on the U.S. healthcare system. Diabetes is the costliest disease in America, with $1 out of every $4 in US health care costs being spent on caring for people with diabetes.

A new report submitted to Congress by the National Clinical Care Commission recommends a better approach to prevent more people from developing type 2 diabetes, and help people already with the disease avoid life-threatening complications. 

“Type 2 diabetes can be prevented in many cases and medical care can help individuals with diabetes avert many of its complications,” the commission wrote in its January 5 report. 

There are effective solutions, like lifestyle change programs such as #PreventDiabetes, that can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Some of the recommendations from the Commission include:

  • Increasing awareness of prediabetes and promoting better coverage of screening tests for prediabetes
  • Increasing the availability of effective lifestyle intervention programs, in particular the National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP)
  • Providing adequate insurance coverage for all effective delivery modalities for diabetes prevention (in-person, telehealth, and virtual)

Individuals with chronic conditions were already facing challenges and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made things worse. Through a combination of awareness and prevention we can stop this crisis from increasing further, reduce the number of diabetes cases and deaths, decrease our health care costs, and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans. 

#PreventDiabetes by incentaHEALTH partners with employers, health systems, researchers, medical groups, universities and public health departments to offer a scalable solution to the diabetes health crisis. Contact us today to learn about our #PreventDiabetes platform.