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The nation's health bill for treating diabetes has virtually doubled and is growing rapidly as the incidence of the disease escalates.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has just released a new report: Diabetes expenditure in Australia 2008-09. The AIHW found that between 2000-01 and 2008-09 health care spending on diabetes increased from $811 million to $1,507 million, driven by an increased number of people being diagnosed with diabetes, as well as improvements in treatment and access to care.
According to the AIHW, the 86% increase in diabetes-related expenditure substantially outstripped the 60% increase in spending on all diseases over the same period, and diabetes' share of total disease expenditure rose from 2 to 2.3%.
The results underline fears that diabetes will become an enormous burden on the health system unless efforts to prevent type 2 diabetes developing are stepped up.
The prevalence of the disease increases as populations get older and heavier, and studies suggest it will become a huge financial burden if current health and lifestyle trends continue.
In its report, the AIHW cited estimates that the number of people with type 2 diabetes (officially estimated at 986,900 people in 2011-12) will double by the middle of the century, and the associated health bill will increase two-and-a-half times, solely as a result of ageing.
If current growth in the rates of obesity and inactivity is sustained, researchers warn the diabetes health bill could increase four-fold.
Source: Australian Medicine magazine