Nov. 27, 2009 -- If nothing is done, the number of Americans with diabetes will nearly double in the next 25 years and spending on the disease will nearly triple, a new study shows.
An aging population combined with a dramatic rise in obesity has created a perfect storm for diabetes in the U.S., researchers say.
"A perfect storm is a good way to look at it," study researcher Elbert S. Huang, MD of the University of Chicago tells WebMD. "If things stay the way they are right now we will have massive increases in diabetes incidence in this country over the next two decades."
By 2034, as many as 44 million Americans will have diabetes, up from 23 million today, according to the new projections, published in the November issue of the American Diabetes Association journal Diabetes Care.
The cost of caring for diabetes patients is projected to rise from $113 billion to $336 annually, and that is before adjusting for inflation.
These costs will outpace the increase in cases because more diabetes patients will be older and sicker and will require more expensive medical care, experts say.