Recently, we have really only talked about ways to fix diabetes and the ways that we discussed are mostly cell based. Although, this may be beneficial to diabetes patients there are a lot of long term side effects caused by diabetes that also need to be address. When patients have muscular degradation or being to loose their eyesight this can significantly effect how they operate in society and what type of role they can play.
The American Diabetes Association does an good job of totaling the cost of diabetes. Not only do they look at surgical costs but also lost wages/work hours, reduced productivity and various other costs that are not associated with just medical expenditures.
Indirect costs include:
- increased absenteeism ($5 billion) and
- reduced productivity while at work ($20.8 billion) for the employed population,
- reduced productivity for those not in the labor force ($2.7 billion),
- inability to work as a result of disease-related disability ($21.6 billion), and
- lost productive capacity due to early mortality ($18.5 billion).
They also say that the average medical expenditure is about 13,700 a year, and only 7,900 is attributed directly to diabetes.
The World Heath Organization also looks at the problem of diabetes from an international perspective. According to WHO 177 million people world wide had diabetes in 2000 and they expect that by 2025 at least 300 million people will have diabetes.
“The costs of diabetes affect everyone, everywhere, but they are not only a financial problem. Intangible costs (pain, anxiety, inconvenience and generally lower quality of life etc.) also have great impact on the lives of patients and their families and are the most difficult to quantify” – WHO factsheet
I know that we are looking at this from a regenerative medicine perspective but I don’t feel like we have fully address the extent of this problem. We have gone over the science behind the disease, but that does not mean that we understand the disease and what these people and their families go through. These are just two fact sheets that discuss some of the indirect and intangible costs of diabetes, to hopefully give more background on why this is such an important issue. Our regenerative approach does not necessarily need to be “curing” diabetes, but improving the lives of individuals with diabetes could be just as influential.