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Financial Stress & Diabetes

May 5, 2021

Written and clinically reviewed by Marissa Town, RN, BSN, CDCES

Healthcare in the United States is something that has been a hot topic in the news in recent years. We have a unique system and when compared to other high-income countries, we spend more money, but as Americans, we have a lower life expectancy.1

Diabetes is one of the most expensive conditions in the United States.  Here are some of the stats:2

  1. Costing the US $237 billion in 2017
  2. 1 in 4 dollars spent in healthcare in U.S. are for diabetes
  3. Person with diabetes on average costs $16,752 each year

One of the highest expenditures related to diabetes in the U.S. are preventable hospitalizations of young adults, ages 18-44.2 Additionally, according to the State of Type 1 Diabetes from the T1D Exchange, 85% of young adults aged 18-25 with type 1 diabetes are not meeting the target of an HbA1C <7%.3

It is clear that young adults with diabetes are struggling. Dr. Julia Blanchette recently published an article focusing on Financial Stress in Emerging Adults with Diabetes to put some focus on this area.4 Blanchette and her fellow authors collected surveys from 413 emerging adults from the T1D Exchange Clinic Registry about financial well-being, diabetes distress, diabetes quality of life, and more.4

The participants data showed of the 413 participants:4

  1. 45% felt high levels of financial stress
  2. 63% had high risk for anxiety
  3. 4% had moderate to high levels of diabetes distress
  4. 1% said their most recent HbA1C met the goal of <7%
  5. Higher levels of financial stress and distress were associated with higher HbA1C levels

Dr. Blanchette states, “What sticks out the most about our findings is we now have some data to support a pretty significant problem that we have seen clinically, and that we have heard many personal and news stories about. Financial stress and diabetes distress have negative impacts on self-management outcomes in young adults with T1D.”

She added, “We still need to do more research in the financial stress area as it’s lacking, but we can use these findings to begin to figure out better ways to support young adults with T1D.”

  1. U.S. Health Care from a Global Perspective, 2019: Higher Spending, Worse Outcomes?
  2. The Cost of Diabetes Care—An Elephant in the Room
  3. State of Type 1 Diabetes Management and Outcomes from the T1D Exchange in 2016–2018
  4. Financial Stress in Emerging Adults with Type 1 Diabetes in the United States