Diabetes complications a huge health care burden in poorer countries, not just the developed world
A study published this week in PLoS Medicine finds that major diabetes complications are a huge economic burden to health care systems around the world, adding new evidence in an area that has focused on cost estimates almost exclusively in the developed world.
Philip Clarke from the University of Sydney, Australia, and colleagues estimated the direct costs of different diabetes-related problems to hospitals in 20 low, middle and high-income countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Established Market Economies like Canada, Australia, and those in Western Europe. Using data from the Action in Diabetes and Vascular Disease (ADVANCE) study, their analysis showed that major diabetes complications - such as stroke and heart disease - are a huge economic burden to health systems across all economic regions.
Nearly everyone in the study who developed heart failure attended hospital but only 15% of people were hospitalized for kidney problems—hospital stays were longest for stroke and shortest for kidney problems. The chances of hospitalization for any complication were lowest in Asia and highest in the Established Market Economies; conversely, lengths of stay were longest in Asia and shortest in the Established Market Economies.
Nearly 250 million people worldwide have diabetes and this number is increasing, with three quarters of all people with diabetes living in the developing world. The authors say that their new estimates can help inform health care decisions, especially in lower-income countries with limited resources.