The Non-Medical Costs of Diabetes

17 Jul

I recently read a study in NPR called “Diabetes Economic Toll Goes Far Beyond Medical Bills.” As many of you know, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes at Age 22, so this article certainly hit home.  It goes on to detail the many ways that the increasing number of people with Diabetes has a huge financial impact on this country– not only with medical expenses but also even goes on to say “young people diagnosed with the disease are [5-7%] more likely to drop out of high school and [8-13%] to forgo or fail to finish college.”

The stats they provide are definitely alarming. Though, for me, what’s jarring isn’t the focus of the article– which says that the increased number of dropouts is estimated to cost society $7 Billion to $11 Billion Dollars.

A kit used by a woman with gestational diabetes.

But instead, why are these young people dropping out at such higher rates?

I have a few theories, but would love to hear what you think.

  • Is it that their priorities shift from homework to their health?
  • It is that these people are all “lazy” as the media likes to portray (definitely not my opinion, but I know it’s one that’s out there).
  • Are they embarrassed?
  • Does the education system not provide enough support for those with diabetes? How about all the missed classes for doctors appointments?
  • Also, this article doesn’t say whether it was Type 1, Type 2, or both and would this make a difference?
  • And, this is a topic for a whole other article– but what about the financial costs for these individuals and their families, forget society as a whole? If these individuals truly are dropping out at higher rates and also seeing less success in the workforce, how does that factor in?

There are so many factors that play into the decisions that people make. I guess I just have trouble believing that Diabetes could be the causal factor. There may be a correlation, but I think there there are so many other things at play.

Yes, having a diagnosis of Diabetes at a young age is difficult. It increases your risk for many things; and according to this article, less education is one of them. I think it’s crucial that we continue holding ourselves accountable for our decisions and that we don’t use Diabetes as an excuse.


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