January 5, 2012

Steps to Cut Medical Cost for Prediabetes Patients

Maybe someone has finally seen the light in diabetes prevention. This article in WebMD was published on June 28, 2011, but I had missed it until the other day. I hope this gets better recognition and acceptance, as there is a huge cost savings to be had if people with prediabetes can be educated and possibly accept taking Metformin to bring prediabetes under excellent management.

First, the medical insurance industry led by Medicare needs to recognize the potential in the future cost savings. This is because people with prediabetes can manage it quite effectively by a change in lifestyle habits plus exercise. If necessary, they may need to start on the diabetes drug Metformin to give their diabetes management time to be started and become effective. Then once they have made the necessary lifestyle changes and are continuing with an exercise regimen, it may be possible to cease taking Metformin.

Doing this may delay the full onset of type 2 diabetes or if a person becomes proficient in their management of prediabetes, they may be able to postpone the onset of type 2 diabetes for decades or possibly forever. Even some people with early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes are using exercise and diet to avoid medications entirely.

I think the study showed very conservative cost savings, but they are still savings. Those on Metformin alone save $1700 over a decade. Those doing extensive lifestyle changes like participating in tailored weight loss and exercise programs saved $2600 per person. The study also stated that the people who ate right and exercised had the highest scores on the quality-of-life survey that measures physical and mental well-being,

I do not know if this a misprint or not. “The cost-savings analysis comes from seven years of follow-up to the three-year study called he Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). The study was halted early when both metformin and lifestyle changes far outperformed placebo. The DPP showed that 10 years of treatment with metformin lowered the risk of developing diabetes by 18%, while lifestyle changes reduced the chance by 34%.” This is somewhat confusing if the study was stopped yet they have 10 years of one treatment. Either way this should get more attention as prevention shows cost savings that should not be ignored.

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