Improving the Health Status of US Working Adults with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Review
Bernard J. Healey
Joseph S. Coyne
Diabetes mellitus is the seventh leading cause of death (sixth leading cause of death by disease) in the US. Approximately 5.9% of the US population has diabetes and one-third of those with diabetes are unaware that they have the condition. Diabetes is the leading cause of adult blindness, end-stage renal disease, and non-traumatic lower extremity amputation. The annual per-capita incremental cost of diabetes among employees compared with individuals without diabetes has been estimated at $US4410 (1998 values). Furthermore, more than 30% of the costs associated with diabetic employees are attributable to medically related work absences and disability, and this is estimated to cause a one-third reduction in earnings due to reduced workforce participation. The incidence of diabetes and long term medical complications could be reduced through more effective diabetes education and patient self-management. Intensive management of diabetes can help workers remain productive, decrease costs associated with complications, and reduce associated costs for overtime. Policy complications from this review encourage employers and Medicare/Medicaid to invest in diabetes education and wellness programs.
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