People who have been newly diagnosed with diabetes will spend substantially more in the first year on medical costs than their non-diabetic counterparts-an average of $4,174 for a 50-year-old-according to RTI International, a non-profit research institute in North Carolina.
Each year thereafter, that figure will increase by an average of $158. Researchers said that both figures do not include costs associated with normal aging, but do reflect costs associated with treating heart and kidney disease, which are common risk factors in diabetes.
The RTI study said that because diabetes is a progressive disease, it becomes more expensive to treat as patients must contend with more complications.
To slow down the rise in medical costs, the institute’s researchers say that the classic advice of managing diabetes through diet and exercise still applies. By keeping blood sugar levels low, patients’ bodies suffer less from inflammation that can later lead to life-threatening kidney or cardiovascular damage.