A Growing and Costly Issue
Approximately 2.69 million people in Texas (10% of the population) have diabetes. Among them, an estimated 663,000 have diabetes but have not yet been diagnosed, which greatly increases their health risks. Another 6.8 million people have prediabetes, with blood glucose levels above the normal range but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. The annual cost of diabetes and prediabetes in Texas is estimated at $23.7 billion.
For people without diabetes, average annual health care costs range from $3495 to $5853. For those with diabetes, that amount soars to an average of $13,741 per year. Proper self-management of the disease enables people with diabetes to reduce their health care cost to levels closer to the non-diabetes level. For 2015, these diabetes education programs achieved more than 11,500 educational and other contacts, resulting in potential lifetime health care cost savings and improved productivity of $46 million. From a broader perspective, these programs reach communities and individuals lacking access to diabetes education, enabling a better quality of life and improved productivity for people with diabetes
AgriLife Extension’s Response
Diabetes is not curable, but it is manageable. People can learn skills to effectively manage their diabetes when education is readily available. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes program targets diabetes issues. The program teaches participants the skills to effectively manage their diabetes, or reduce the risk of developing diabetes through better nutrition, exercise and monitoring blood-sugar levels. Contact the Wharton County Extension Office at 979-532-3310 for more information.