Prediabetes: Don’t Wait to Address the Risks

There’s a decline in new diabetes cases and a plateau in existing diabetes cases in the U.S., according to a National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). That’s great news for employers, but there’s still a huge area of concern, and that’s because the survey didn’t include prediabetes data. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates there are 30.3 million Americans who have diabetes. Unfortunately, the number of Americans who have prediabetes nearly triples at an estimated 84.1 million. Of that 84.1 million, an estimated 5% to 10% of those individuals will progress to Type 2 diabetes each year, which means almost 25% of individuals with prediabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes within five years.

This presents a large financial impact. The total cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2017 was $327 billion in direct medical costs and productivity loss, according to the American Diabetes Association (ABA). Employers and benefit managers, take heed of the potential impact on cost and start thinking of initiatives you can offer employees to improve their health and well-being.

What can you do?

Now is the perfect time to embrace a well-designed health and wellness benefit that screens for risk of diabetes. A Quest Diagnostics study this past June found that those at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes who take part in an employer-sponsored wellness program that couples laboratory screening with digital interventions reduced their risk of developing the disease for up to eight years. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the ADA. Adopting a wellness program that creates employee awareness can prevent the progression to diabetes, reduce costs and save lives.