Diabetes: Universal Health Dilemma

Diabetes: Universal Health Dilemma: Because Diabetic Live is based in the United States we will generally provide coverage that comes from the United States. However for this report we take a look at information from a few other countries that also struggle with a growing number of citizens who live with diabetes.

According to DiabetesAustralia there are a number of facts their organization considers important in their response to diabetes. Consider the following.

  • An estimated 275 Australians develop diabetes every day. The 2005 Australian AusDiab Follow-up Study (Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study) showed that 1.7 million Australians have diabetes but that up to half of the cases of type 2 diabetes remain undiagnosed. By 2031 it is estimated that 3.3 million Australians will have type 2 diabetes (Vos et al., 2004).
  • The total financial cost of type 2 diabetes is estimated at $10.3 billion. Of this, carer costs were estimated as $4.4 billion, productivity losses were $4.1 billion, health system costs were $1.1 billion and $1.1 billion was due to obesity.
  • A reduction in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes will not only result in cost savings in the health budget, but increased participation and productivity in the workforce and, most importantly, better health outcomes and quality of life for Australians.
  • There is no doubt diabetes is a serious health crisis but it’s not all bad news. Up to 60% of cases of type 2 can be prevented and we know that good blood glucose control and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can significantly improve the complications associated with diabetes.
  • 275 Australians develop diabetes every day.
  • Diabetes is Australia’s fastest growing chronic disease.
  • About 890,000 Australians are currently diagnosed with diabetes. For every person diagnosed, it is estimated that there is another who is not yet diagnosed; a total of about 1.7 million people.
  • The total number of Australians with diabetes and pre-diabetes is estimated at 3.2 million.
  • As the sixth leading cause of death in Australia, it is critical we take action.
  • Up to 60% of cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented. (Source: Diabetes Australia)

Ironically this information is not significantly unique when compared to many other locations in the world – including the United States.

On our border to the north in Canada the citizens there are part of a nationalized health plan, but some are concerned about the care diabetic residents are receiving. Consider the following.

According to The Gazette a Canadian Institute for Health Information report, “Found care for those with diabetes varied across regions and income levels. The study found that only 32 per cent of diabetes patients across the country received four key medically recommended regular tests for the ailment.”

In some locations diabetic testing on these four key medical areas was as low as 21%. For your reference the four areas viewed as important in the study included, “Blood glucose levels, urine protein, dilated eyes and to check their feet for sores or irritations.” While most practitioners conducted one or more tests it was rare that a practitioner would conduct all four on a diabetic patient in Canada.

This information is causing many Canadians to demand national standards that focus on the diabetic patient in order to improve the level of care provided to their patients.