Background: Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition that affects the health of Americans and the US health care system on many levels. According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 16 million Americans have diabetes mellitus. The onset of type 2 diabetes mellitus, which accounts for the vast majority (90%-95%) of cases, precedes diagnosis by a mean 7 years, with the disease typically manifesting during adulthood. It is not uncommon for people to first realize they have diabetes mellitus due to the appearance of a related complication.
Objective: The goal of this analysis was to estimate the direct medical costs of managing microvascular and macrovascular complications of type 2 diabetes mellitus in the United States in the year 2000.
Methods: Complication costs were estimated by applying unit costs to typical resource-use profiles. A combination of direct data analysis and cost modeling was used. For each complication, the event costs referred to those associated with the acute episode and subsequent care in the first year. State costs were the annual costs of continued management. Data were obtained from many sources, including inpatient, ambulatory, and emergency department care databases from several states; national physician and laboratory fee schedules; government reports; and literature. All costs were expressed in 2000 US dollars.
Results: Major events (eg, acute myocardial infarction--30,364 dollars event cost, 1678 dollars state cost) generated a greater financial burden than early-stage complica- tions (eg, microalbuminuria--63 dollars event cost, 15 dollars state cost). However, complications that were initially relatively low in cost (eg, microalbuminuria) can progress to more costly advanced stages (eg, end-stage renal disease--37,022 dollars state cost).
Conclusions: Given the scope of diabetes mellitus in the United States and its impact on health care and budgets, it is important for policy makers to have up-to-date information about treatment outcomes and costs. The costs presented here provide essential components for any analysis examining the economic burden of the complications of diabetes mellitus.