How To Lower Healthcare Costs By Having Your A1C Under 7
Looking to save money? Better blood sugar management can help!
In a recent study of adult patients with diabetes (excluding pregnancy) an A1C under 7 is directly correlated to lower healthcare expenditures. This makes a lot of sense. If our A1C is higher then our risk of diabetes-related complications is higher. We are going to have to see more doctors and be on more medications to manage these complications. And when those treatments fail we end up in acute medical need of inpatient or outpatient services more often. These costs all add up. When we compound these with the fact that our body has a harder time healing from illness or injury when blood sugars are above target range we also end up missing more time from work, and again needing more doctors visits, more medicine and more hospital care.
Diabetes itself can be more expensive to manage as A1C rises too. When A1C is lower we can use lifestyle modifications more effectively to maintain wellness. Keeping A1C levels down with dietary adjustments and physical activity is a lot cheaper than adding on medications. They also have the added benefit of reducing health needs like hypertension, obesity, and pain, all of which add burdens of costs to lives of people with diabetes.
Mental health services and medications are also an added cost of higher A1C. When blood sugars run high we are more prone to depression. We are also living with the constant looming worry, guilt, shame and stigma of living with the “label” of “poorly controlled” or “non-compliant” these medical needs and the time lost from work team up to add further burden to an already burdened situation. Physical activity and dietary adjustments can also reduce depression symptoms, so there are lots for cost saving benefits to eating healthier and getting moving.
You might be wondering if lower is better in terms of costs? There was not a correlation to lower A1C costing less, so much as, the higher the A1C target, the wider the difference between those below it and above.
For example, there is less than $1000 annual difference for adults achieving an A1C less than 6 those who did not. But there is a $3000 difference between adults who had an A1C and those who did not.
Investing in our diabetes wellness is not cheap, we all know that! But the data clearly shows that it is money well spent. We get real return on investment, not just in money (of which we can make more) but of time and quality of life which is truly priceless.
Alicia’s diverse nursing career has given her experience with a broad range of clients and a variety of health conditions in addition to diabetes. One of her passions is advocating for the needs of her patients, whether it be in overcoming insurance restrictions, obtaining community resources, or coordinating with school systems and medical providers.