A new study shows that overweight patients with type 2 diabetes can significantly lower their health care costs by shedding some extra pounds.
Researchers from the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have monitored type 2 diabetes patients and discovered that obese adults suffering from the illness can lower their healthcare costs when adhering to a strict diet and engaging in physical activity. According to their findings, patients can reduce their costs by over $500 per year through weight loss alone.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition in which human cells no longer use insulin properly and as a result, glucose levels rise. Known as adult-onset noninsulin-dependent diabetes, the illness affects more than 29.1 million Americans (around 9.3% of the population) and among those diagnosed with the ailment, more than 80 percent of patients are overweight or obese.
Mark A. Espeland, lead author of the study and professor of public health sciences at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center explains that any endeavors in promoting weight loss and increasing physical activity are strongly recommended for overweight type 2 diabetes patients in order to notice an improvement in their overall health. He noted that apart from the obvious quality of life improvements, patients will also save significant amounts of money by reducing their healthcare needs through a carefully planned regimen.
The study included 5,121 obese and overweight adults aged 45-76 with diagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes. The patients had also been included in a study that the National Institute for Health-sponsored Action for Health in Diabetes had begun in 2001.
Across 16 different sites across the country, where the study was underway, 50 percent of patients were randomly assigned a regimen. They were either given intensive lifestyle intervention regimens (ILI) or diabetes support and education program (DSE) indications and physicians carefully assessed their medical histories.
Researchers concluded that out of the two groups, patients who had received ILI regimens had been experiencing a 11 percent reduction in hospitalization as well as hospital stays that were 15 percent shorter than patients belonging to the other group. Additionally, patients on the ILI regimen also used fewer prescription medications.
Researchers noted that an indirect result of ILI was an average health care cost reduction of around $5,280 over 10 years.
Patients in the ILI group showed better glucose level control, better blood pressure, quality of sleep, less symptoms and better physical function.
The study was published in the Journal Diabetes Care.