Patient drinking coffee while browsing with a tablet
HealthNovember 15, 2019

Diabetes care: Equipping patients to make lasting lifestyle changes

Escalating diabetes rates are driving a worldwide health crisis. According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), 425 million adults were living with diabetes in 2017.

This figure does not include the one in two people with diabetes who are undiagnosed. By 2045, the IDF projects the number of diabetic adults to rise to 629 million. The World Health Organization estimates that diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in 2016, claiming 1.6 million lives.

No region of the world is immune to this trend. In 2017, the European Union reported more than 32.7 million people with diabetes, nearly double the number (18.2 million) in 2000. Sixty per cent of the diabetics in the world live in Asia, including 114 million people in China, or 9.7 per cent of the population. The U.S. has 30 million diabetics, or 10.8 per cent of the population. Brazil ranks fourth in the world with cases of diabetes at 12.4 million, or 8.1 per cent of the population.

The costs to healthcare systems are staggering. The IDF estimates that diabetes generated at least USD 727 billion in health expenditures in 2017. Half of the global diabetes healthcare spending occurs in North America and the Caribbean, while Europe accounts for 25 per cent of the spending.

Current methods are not enough

We won’t begin to address the alarming rise in diabetes without making fundamental changes in our approach to managing the disease. To make a real difference in diabetes prevention and management, health systems must expand beyond their current patient support tactics. To date, most diabetes programs have focused on disease state management through:

  • Coaching – Educating patients about diabetes basics and, for pre-diabetic patients, on prevention
  • Devices – Teaching patients how to use insulin pens and Web- or mobile-enabled glucometers
  • Apps – Deploying apps for analytics, insight, and automated feedback

These tools are helpful, but insufficient. To address diabetes at scale, we need to be aware of the social determinants that affect each patient and to guide them throughout the long and challenging process of changing behavior.

Download our latest white paper on diabetes care: Equipping patients to make lasting lifestyle changes

Our latest white paper examines the growing worldwide health crisis of diabetes and how current methods of addressing it are not enough. Treatment can be influenced by patient behavior and social determinants, requiring a new approach focused on behavioral science and activating patients to engage with their care and make lasting changes.


UpToDate Patient Engagement

Engage every patient in their care journey

Easy-to-use interactive programs, featuring conversational language and relatable examples, help you foster connections and extend your team’s reach beyond healthcare settings.

Back To Top