30 million. 1.4 million. 11 million. 86 million. These numbers on their own may mean nothing, but in the context of diabetes, they paint an entirely different picture. More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, with 1.4 million new cases diagnosed each year in the United States. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 11 million older adults have diabetes, while 86 million Americans have prediabetes. So what’s the bright side?
First, diabetes prevention is an important step to curb the number of people affected by the disease. Second, improved adherence to diabetes medications can make a huge difference. Take, for example, one study that estimates patients in the United States could avoid 341,000 hospitalizations and nearly 700,000 emergency room visits annually just by improving adherence to their diabetes medicines. For seniors, adherence can also mean cost savings. A study in the Journal of Managed Care Specialty Pharmacy found that for patients with diabetes a 1 percent increase in prescriptions filled for diabetes medicines was coupled with a .83 percent decrease in non-pharmacy medical spending. That’s an average net savings of $5,170 per beneficiary compared to those who were non-adherent.