More than 100,000 Americans died from diabetes in 2021, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This marks the second consecutive year the U.S. fatality rate for diabetes passed the six-digit mark.
What Happened: According to Reuters, diabetes was the seventh-leading cause of death among Americans during pre-pandemic 2019, with a fatality rate of more than 87,000 lives. That level increased by 17% during 2020 and 15% in 2021 – the CDC data excludes deaths among diabetics that were directly attributed to COVID-19.
Separate from the CDC data, a new report issued by the National Clinical Care Commission created by Congress called on the federal government to initiate a more comprehensive strategy to prevent a greater number of people from developing type 2 diabetes, while helping those with the disease to avoid complications that could result in their death.
The commission added that approximately 37 million Americans, or 11% of the population, have diabetes. If current trends are not reversed, the commissioned added, one in three Americans will develop the disease.
“Diabetes in the U.S. cannot simply be viewed as a medical or health care problem, but also must be addressed as a societal problem that cuts across many sectors, including food, housing, commerce, transportation and the environment,” the commission’s report stated.
What Else Happened: In other developments, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) have launched a fund designed to provide financial assistance to diabetics who meet the eligibility requirements to pay for co-pays, deductibles and co-insurance for medical testing and treatment and for medical insurance premiums.
The new fund is part of PAF’s Co-Pay Relief Program (CPR), which has provided financial assistance since 2004 to people living with cancers and other chronic conditions. The ADA estimated that diabetes accounted for $1 of every $4 spent on health care, with annual out-of-pocket expenses averaging $9,600 more for people with diabetes than those without.
“We are committed to improving the lives of all people affected by diabetes and determined to ensure that the 133 million living with diabetes and prediabetes have access to care no matter their race, income, zip code, age, education, or gender,” said Otis W. Kirksey, ADA’s president of health care and education. “This is a start to breaking down the foundation of systemic health inequities to promote sustainable change, the addition of the diabetes fund adds immediate support to those in financial need today.”
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