A Healthier Lifestyle May Pay Well

Most of the dollar numbers we see relating to the worldwide epidemic of type 2 diabetes focus on the cost of diabetes to a country’s overall economy. For instance, the latest estimate adopted by the American Diabetes Association states that the “total costs of diagnosed diabetes in the United States in 2012” to be $245 billion. That is a startling number. But, like most startling numbers it is relatively meaningless except maybe to economists.

A recent study, however, included a couple of numbers that are completely understandable. The Economic Costs of Type 2 Diabetes: A Global Systematic Review, looked at many studies from different countries and drew some disturbing data forward showing the costs to individuals – the potential cost to you. Consider the following data specific to the U.S.:

• The average out-of-pocket cost to a person with diabetes is $11,917 per year
• Women with diabetes “lose” on average about $21,000 per year in income earning potential

“Average” numbers like this are sometimes interpreted to mean that simply having diabetes means we are doomed to poor health or, as this study shows, to economic distress. That doesn’t mean the numbers are wrong, but be clear about this – the numbers don’t have to apply to you.

Diabetes can be managed. You spend time on Type2diabetes.com because you know that adopting and sustaining healthy lifestyle habits – diet and exercise – offers a far above average opportunity to enjoy good health for many years to come. But, if the abstract vision of future good health is hard for you to grasp, this study shows that adopting and sustaining healthy lifestyle habits might keep a lot of dollars safe in your bank account too. And that's an easy concept to grasp.

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