Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes treatments are costly for kids

Receiving insulin is a necessity rather than an option for many people who have type 1 diabetes, since their bodies are unable to produce the hormone naturally. However, a recent study highlighted how the high costs of diabetes treatments disproportionately affect young diabetics.

The research, which was published in the journal Diabetes Care, involved patients who were 19-years-old or younger, and whose medical costs were covered by employer-sponsored health insurance.

The findings indicated that healthcare costs for children with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes are upwards of $7,500 more than those of non-diabetic kids. Frequent visits to medical specialists, along with the high price of insulin supplies and blood glucose test strips, account for much of the $9,000 that children with diabetes require for annual care, on average.

Compared to children and teens who took oral medications to control their blood sugar levels, those who required an insulin pump had annual medical expenses nearly $4,000 higher.

The scientists explained that these costs for children with diabetes were higher than those of adults who suffer from the condition because young people were more likely to be on insulin therapy. The study's results showed that 92 percent of the youth participants took insulin, compared to only 26 percent of adult diabetics.

Although diabetes treatments may create financial strain for many families, children who do not take care of their health may require highly expensive surgeries in the future.

"The childhood cost of diabetes is high, but the reality is that cost is dwarfed by complications down the road," said Bruce Weiss, a senior medical director for UnitedHealthcare of Wisconsin, quoted by the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

He told the newspaper that the average cost of a heart bypass is $60,000, while one year of dialysis treatment for kidney failure is about $90,000.