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Effects That Diabetes Has on Society

author image Melissa Angela
Melissa Angela has a master's degree in public health with a specialization in community health education. She is also a registered nurse, having worked in the health field for more than 15 years. Angela has a special interest in wellness and promotion of women's health and serves as a freelance health writer for various websites.
Effects That Diabetes Has on Society
A receptionist is checking someone in to a hospital. Photo Credit: Thomas Northcut/DigitalVision/Getty Images

According to the American Diabetes Association, 23.6 million children and adults have diabetes. While it can have devastating effects on those affected, the impact that diabetes has on society is high reaching. It is rare that a person does not know someone who is affected by diabetes, and there are many who have diabetes and do not even know it. Because of this, there is more focus on diabetes prevention, treatment and education.

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Morbidity & Mortality

The American Diabetes Association reports there are 17.9 million Americans that have been diagnosed with diabetes, while 5.7 million are believed to be undiagnosed. 57 million have pre-diabetes, or are at risk for developing diabetes.

Persons that are overweight, have limited physical activity, have poor eating habits, or have a genetic predisposition may be at risk for type 2 diabetes. Since this disease is related to lifestyle behaviors, prevention of diabetes means changing a culture where inactivity, obesity and poor eating habits run rampant.

Quality of Life

Getting diagnosed with diabetes can change someone’s life tremendously. She may need to take medications, have more doctor visits and test her blood sugar on a regular basis. Some need to take insulin injections. Most need to go on a special diet and are told to exercise more regularly.

Diabetes self-care management is necessary in order to maintain blood sugars and prevent complications. This makes diabetes management a priority in the health care system, while it also impacts the quality of life of those affected.


Diabetes has many different complications that have an impact on society. Diabetics have a higher rate of heart disease, according to the American Diabetes Association. It is also linked to kidney disease, amputations, eye problems that result in blindness and other problems. These complications cause disability and death. They have a direct impact on the health care system, families and loved ones.

The Price of Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, the cost for diabetes in 2007 was 174 billion dollars. This includes direct medical costs as well as costs related to premature work loss, disability and premature mortality.

If a focus is put on changing lifestyle behaviors, it is possible to prevent type 2 diabetes. This can result in less disability and death related to diabetes, as well as preventing diabetes complications that impact the quality of life for many Americans.

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