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Cost Of Diabetes: Disease's Impact Felt Around The World

04/24/2012 05:23 EDT | Updated 04/26/2012 03:01 EDT
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(Prevalence of diabetes in 2010, adults 20-79 years; Source: IDF (2009), OECD Health at a Glance 2011)

The number of people affected by diabetes worldwide is on the rise -- and with it, the price tag for everything touched by the disease.

Estimates have put the numbers as high as 552 million for those who could have diabetes by 2030, and as is shown in the chart above, certain countries are facing a more difficult time with it than others. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has 34 countries in its membership, including the top five countries with diabetes: Mexico, United States, Portugal, Canada and Germany. The organization is starting to sound the alarm on the projected impact.

At the European Diabetes Leadership Forum in Copenhagen today, OECD Deputy Director General Yves Leterme stated, "Preventing and treating diabetes and its complications costs about €90 billion annually in Europe alone. With health budgets already under great pressure and national budgets severely strained, for the sake of our health and the health of our economies we must find ways to prevent and manage diabetes in a cost-effective manner."

In the United States, the current direct and indirect costs of diabetes total $174 billion annually, with experts predicting a total of $3.4 trillion by the time the year 2020 rolls around. In Canada, the number is estimated to reach $16.9 billion annually by the end of the decade.

Apart from medication and treatment, the organization points to societal problems, like reduced employment opportunities and salaries for those affected -- for example, obese people earn up to 18 per cent less than non-obese people. There's also the issue of depression, for which those with diabetes have been found to be at a higher risk.

Prevention programs put into place around the world have demonstrated that certain lifestyle behaviours -- specifically, a healthy meal plan, regular physical activity and weight control -- can bring the risk of getting the disease down by almost 50 per cent.

SEE: What diabetes is costing countries around the world -- for more information, see the International Diabetes Federation's paper on the economic impact of the disease:

Cost Of Diabetes Around The World

United States

$174 billion: Total costs of diagnosed diabetes in the United States in 2007 ($116 billion for direct medical costs, $58 billion for indirect costs [disability, work loss, premature mortality])

Source: American Diabetes Association

Canada

Approximately $11.6 billion, based on a 2000 figure of $6.3 billion, and a projected figure of $16.9 billion by 2020.

Source: Canadian Diabetes Association

Mexico

$15.1 billion, in direct and indirect costs

Source: The New York Times

Germany

Estimated €43.2 billion ($57 billion) for direct annual costs

Source: The London School of Economics and Political Science

India

Approximately $36 billion, based on 2.1% of the country's $1.73 trillion GDP

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit; World Bank

South Korea

$11.7 billion in 2003, when 5.1% of the population had diabetes. Recent figures show it is closet to 8%

Sources: Korean Diabetes Association, Diabetes and Metabolism Journal.

China

$25 billion annually, as of 2010

Source: International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and Chinese Diabetes Society

Netherlands

€5 to 6 billion ($6.6 to 7.9 billion) in direct and indirect costs, according to 2011 numbers

Source: Novo Nordisk study