A study conducted at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and published in the Journal of Women’s Health, revealed a dramatic increase in the number of hospitalizations due to diabetes among younger adults-especially women. From 1993 to 2006, diabetes hospitalizations were up by 66 percent for all ages and genders, and the figures for adults ages 30-39 more than doubled. The authors found that young women were 1.3 times more likely to undergo hospital treatment than young men. Researchers believe this trend in diabetes hospitalizations is potentially related to the higher national rates of obesity for women versus men in the 20-39 age group.
Another contributing factor to these statistics, according to the researchers, is that women with diabetes may be sicker than their males counterparts, a factor that could be related to the medical care they receive. For example, young women with diabetes are less likely to receive preventive care for their diabetes.
“Our findings suggest that further attention must be paid to the young adult population,” said study author Joyce Lee, MD, MPH, a pediatric endocrinologist and researcher for the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. “We need more diabetes prevention interventions targeting the young adult population, and women in particular, to prevent further increases in diabetes,” she continued. “In addition, we need more medical care interventions to improve the overall health of young adults with diabetes.”
The study focused on the costs of the trend and predict a heavy future financial toll. According to Lee, “As rates of diabetes continue to increase, particularly among young adults, the future economic burden on Medicare will only escalate as people age.” With adjustments for inflation, the researchers said the cost of hospital charges for diabetes rose to $200.1 billion in 2006, an increase of $137.6 billion over 1993 figures.