Diabetes Is A Greater Problem In Chicago Than Other Communities

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The non-profit Midwest Business Group on Health (MBGH) announced today the release of a new report on the prevalence, costs and quality of care for patients with Type 2 diabetes in the Chicago seven-county metropolitan area and other Illinois and Midwest communities.

The Chicago Area Diabetes Report for 2007 presents an overview of patient demographics, utilization of clinical services and drug therapy for Type 2 Diabetes patients and national benchmarks. This report was developed to help employers identify opportunities to address the increasing prevalence and complications of diabetes for their employees, dependents and retirees.

"Diabetes has a significant impact on an employer's medical and productivity costs and the prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes is higher in the Chicago area than many other metropolitan regions," said Larry Boress, president of MBGH. "We hope this information serves as a call to action for employers to assist their covered populations in the identification, diagnosis, education, treatment and self-management of this debilitating and costly disease."

Key report findings

-- Prevalence of diabetes in Chicago is higher than the Illinois and national diabetes prevalence rates.

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-- Chicago workers (ages 18-64) account for a higher share of the Type 2 diabetes population than other Illinois and Midwest cities and the nation.

-- Females account for a larger percentage (62 percent) of patients with Type 2 diabetes in Chicago area than males.

-- The number of Chicago area Type 2 diabetes patients who received the recommended eye exams and A1c tests (a test that helps a diabetic patient determine their average blood glucose control for the past two to three months to understand how well their diabetes treatment plan is working) were each lower than those in three of the four Midwest cities profiled.

-- Type 2 diabetes patients in Chicago have a higher percentage of complications and comorbidities (other health conditions that exist at the same time as the primary condition in the same patient such as hypertension) than diabetes patients nationally.

"Hospira chose to participate in MBGH's Taking Control of Your Health diabetes self-management program to help reduce the costs and improve the health of our employees with diabetes," said Pam Hannon, director, Benefits, Hospira. "By providing financial incentives through waived co-pays and additional education, we believe we will have happier and healthier employees as well as lower long-term medical and absenteeism costs for this group. Most importantly, employee response has been overwhelmingly favorable, with more than 130 individuals enrolled in the program to date."

Type 2 diabetes, which typically appears first in adulthood and is exacerbated by obesity and an inactive lifestyle, produces high blood glucose levels caused by either a lack of insulin or the body's inability to use insulin efficiently. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 17 million Americans have diabetes, with an average of 1 million new cases being diagnosed each year in people over the age of 20. Nine out of ten of these patients have the Type 2 variety. The cost of diabetes in the US was approximately $132 billion in 2002, with $92 billion spent on medical services. The economic loss to the US economy due to higher rates of lost work time, disability and premature mortality associated with diabetes in the working population was approximately $40 billion in 2002.

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