Hospital admissions for diabetes on the rise

The number of hospital admissions for diabetes increased by almost 12 percent between 1999 and 2003, according to a new report released by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) in conjunction with American Diabetes Month.

In 2003, diabetes was the principal diagnosis in more than 23,000 admissions to Pennsylvania hospitals, accounting for almost 134,000 hospital days and more than $641 million in hospital charges.

“Diabetes has an enormous impact not only on the health of Pennsylvanians, but also on health care costs,” said Marc P. Volavka, Executive Director of PHC4. “With appropriate preventive care, hospitalizations for diabetes can often be avoided. Yet, in the past five years, there were more than 112,000 hospital admissions for diabetes that resulted in a total of $2.2 billion in hospital charges.”

Diabetes is a widespread, chronic disease that predisposes people to costly complications including heart disease, hypertension and stroke. It is the leading cause of new cases of blindness, end-stage renal failure, and non-traumatic lower extremity amputation. An estimated 8 percent of adults in Pennsylvania have been diagnosed with diabetes.

The number of American adults with diabetes has increased 61 percent since 1991 and is projected to more than double by 2050.

The Diabetes Hospitalization Report includes information on hospital admissions for diabetes, as well as two major complications of diabetes – lower extremity amputation and end-stage renal disease. The report provides a snapshot of diabetes hospitalizations in Pennsylvania during 2003 and some trends over the previous few years.

Hospitalization rates for diabetes vary by age and race. African Americans continue to have the highest rate of hospitalizations for diabetes and end-stage renal disease, as well as the highest rate of lower extremity amputations.

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