diabetes | Texas Public Radio

diabetes

High Cost Of Diabetes Drugs Often Goes Overlooked

Aug 18, 2015

When it comes to treating chronic conditions, diabetes drugs aren't nearly as sexy as say, Sovaldi, last year's breakthrough hepatitis C drug that offers a cure for the chronic liver infection at a price approaching six figures.

Yet an estimated 29 million people in the U.S. have diabetes — about 10 times the number of people with hepatitis C — and many of them will take diabetes drugs for the rest of their lives. Cost increases for both old and new drugs are forcing many to scramble to pay for them.

It's true that being overweight or obese is a leading risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes.

But attention, skinny and normal-weight people: You may be vulnerable, too.

Lots of lifestyle choices influence the risk of diabetes: everything from whether you smoke to how much you exercise (or don't). It turns out, what you choose to drink is also a risk factor.

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That diet soda you thought was helping you lose weight might be doing the opposite, according to a new study from the University of Texas Health Science Center.

After examining 749 adults across the city, the San Antonio Longitudinal Study on Aging, a study that has spanned multiple decades, found that consumption of diet soda was linked with increases in waistlines in senior citizens.

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  Obesity is a big problem in San Antonio and Bexar County. Of the more than 1.8 million people that live in Bexar, 65 percent are estimated to be overweight and obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Every person who uses insulin to manage diabetes wants what they don't have — a replacement for their malfunctioning pancreas. And though the technology isn't yet to the point of creating an artificial pancreas, it's getting a lot closer.

Just last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a mobile app-based system that can monitor a person's sugar levels remotely. Parents can monitor a child's sugar while she or he is in school, for example, providing greater peace of mind.

Almost one in 10 Americans has diabetes. That’s a startling statistic, but not as alarming as the forecast: if present trends continue, one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050. But it’s not inevitable.

There’s a new national program to slow down the epidemic by rolling out hundreds of support groups across the country. From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Carrie Feibel of Houston Public Media reports.

Diabetes is an expensive disease to treat, costing the United States $244 billion in 2012, according to an analysis of the disease's economic burden.

When the loss of productivity due to illness and disability is added in, the bill comes to $322 billion, or $1,000 a year for each American, including those without diabetes. That's 48 percent higher than the same benchmark in 2007; not a healthy trend.

The increase is being driven by a growing and aging population, the report finds, as well as more common risk factors like obesity, and higher medical costs.

The State Of Obesity 2014 / http://bit.ly/1nJ4TqS

We are fat--capital "F" fat. But after years of public health campaigns stressing the importance of exercise, healthy eating and access to healthy foods there are some positives to report.

In fact the authors changed the name of the study after 10 years from "F" is For Fat to The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America to highlight the limited signs of hope there is for the United States.

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Bexar County continues to lead the state in the number of people suffering from diabetes, according to the Metropolitan Health District's annual report. At 14 percent the county leads the country by five percent, and its citizens are more likely to progress to serious complications.

People taking cholesterol-lowering statins often report having muscle pain and other side effects. Many quit taking the pills as a result.

But the statins aren't to blame, according to an analysis that found muscle problems no more likely with statins than with a placebo pill.

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