Alarming Diabetes Statistics: An Employer Wake-Up Call

By Alana Smart / July 26, 2023 / Blog ,

Alarming Diabetes Statistics: An Employer Wake-Up Call

Did you know that approximately 15.3 million working age U.S. adults were diagnosed with diabetes in 2018? And each year, the diagnoses continue to grow. It has been forecast that the prevalence of diabetes will grow to more than 54.9 million Americans by 2030. These alarming diabetes statistics are even more troubling, given the fact that many individuals have delayed healthcare due to cost concerns and the impact of COVID-19 on medical access. As an employer, you can make a significant difference by offering wellness screenings. These screenings empower your workforce to take charge of their health, detect potential issues early on, and create a culture of care and concern in your organization.

The Impact of Diabetes on the Workplace

Diabetes can affect employees in various ways, leading to emotional and physical difficulties. If not managed properly, it may result in missed workdays or reduced productivity. Rising diagnosis rates and associated costs make diabetes one of the most expensive diseases for employers in the United States. The total costs of diagnosed diabetes have surged from $245 billion in 2012 to $327 billion in 2017. These costs include both direct medical expenses and indirect expenses.

Indirect costs include:

  • Inability to work as a result of disease-related disability ($37.5 billion)
  • Reduced productivity while at work ($26.9 billion)
  • Lost productive capacity due to early mortality ($19.9 billion)
  • Increased absenteeism ($3.3 billion)

The Importance of Diabetes Screening

The pandemic has significantly impacted individuals’ access to healthcare, leading to a rise in delayed medical care. Many Americans have put off essential health visits, leading to potential consequences for their overall well-being.

Regular screening is essential in identifying and managing prediabetes and diabetes effectively. Early detection is crucial as it empowers individuals to take necessary steps for treatment and preventive care, mitigating potential health issues that may have worsened during delayed medical visits. Untreated diabetes can lead to severe complications, such as damage to the heart, kidneys, nerves, eyes, and blood vessels. However, with proper treatment and support, individuals can manage the condition and reduce the risk of long-term complications. Workplace wellness initiatives, like diabetes screening, not only positively impact productivity and costs but also boost employee morale, retention, and company culture.

Employers’ Role in Improving Employee Health

In the post-pandemic era, employees seek employers who genuinely care about their health and well-being.  Employers can play a crucial role in providing preventative care for their workforce. Offering diabetic screening helps identify employees with prediabetes and ensures those with diabetes receive appropriate care and support. Prioritizing employee health and wellness can minimize the negative outcomes associated with diabetes, including absenteeism, productivity losses, and frequent healthcare visits.

Work Characteristics that Influence Alarming Diabetes Statistics

Occupational influences on diabetes risk have been well-documented, with work characteristics like shiftwork, long hours, and sedentary job conditions playing significant roles. Industries such as protective services and healthcare support have higher risk factors for diabetes, including obesity and insufficient sleep. According to one study, the top occupation groups identified as having high prevalences of diagnosed diabetes included protective services, the farming, fishing, and forestry industry, healthcare support and transportation and material moving. Wellness screenings can serve as a valuable tool to identify and address diabetes risks, especially among employees in these occupations.

Transforming Your Workplace Well-being Strategy

As employers, you have the power to revolutionize your workplace’s well-being by introducing routine health screenings. Early detection, employee support, and proactive care are the cornerstones of a successful wellness program that fosters a culture of care and concern. By providing valuable health information and empowering your workforce to prioritize their health, you not only save on healthcare costs but also drive employee satisfaction and productivity.

At NMS Health, we understand the importance of convenient and accurate testing. Our Diabetes Test allows individuals to assess their risk of diabetes or how well they are managing the condition. By measuring the average amount of glucose that’s been attached to hemoglobin over the last 2-3 months, the A1C test can detect both prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes.

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