The Economic Burden of Elevated Blood Glucose Levels in 2017: Diagnosed and Undiagnosed Diabetes, Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, and Prediabetes

Diabetes Care. 2019 Sep;42(9):1661-1668. doi: 10.2337/dc18-1226. Epub 2019 Apr 2.


Objective: This study was conducted to update national estimates of the economic burden of undiagnosed diabetes, prediabetes, and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in the United States for year 2017 and provide state-level estimates. Combined with published estimates for diagnosed diabetes, these updated statistics provide a detailed picture of the economic costs associated with elevated blood glucose levels.

Research design and methods: This study estimated medical expenditures exceeding levels occurring in the absence of diabetes or prediabetes and the indirect economic burden associated with reduced labor force participation and productivity. Data sources analyzed included Optum medical claims for ∼5.8 million commercially insured patients continuously enrolled from 2013 to 2015, Medicare Standard Analytical Files containing medical claims for ∼2.8 million Medicare patients in 2014, and the 2014 Nationwide Inpatient Sample containing ∼7.1 million discharge records. Other data sources were the U.S. Census Bureau, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Results: The economic burden associated with diagnosed diabetes (all ages), undiagnosed diabetes and prediabetes (adults), and GDM (mothers and newborns) reached nearly $404 billion in 2017, consisting of $327.2 billion for diagnosed diabetes, $31.7 billion for undiagnosed diabetes, $43.4 billion for prediabetes, and nearly $1.6 billion for GDM. Combined, this amounted to an economic burden of $1,240 for each American in 2017. Annual burden per case averaged $13,240 for diagnosed diabetes, $5,800 for GDM, $4,250 for undiagnosed diabetes, and $500 for prediabetes.

Conclusions: Updated statistics underscore the importance of reducing the burden of prediabetes and diabetes through better detection, prevention, and treatment.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose
  • Cost of Illness
  • Diabetes Mellitus*
  • Diabetes, Gestational*
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Prediabetic State*
  • Pregnancy
  • United States


  • Blood Glucose