Generations X, Y Are Twice as Likely to Be Managing Their Type 2 Diabetes Without Medications


Buffeted by an uncertain economy and rising treatment costs, diabetes (Type 2) patients in Generations X and Y (roughly ages 20 to 48) are more likely than older sufferers to be managing their condition without medication, doctor guidance, or even testing, says a new GfK report.


The latest Roper Diabetes Patient Study shows that 57 percent of diabetes patients between ages 18 and 45 say they “often worry about the cost” of their condition; and 17 percent report that they are managing their condition with diet and/or exercise alone. These are roughly double the figures (31 percent, 9 percent) for Type 2 sufferers in the 65-plus age group. In addition, these younger sufferers are more likely to skip doctor visits and test their blood sugar levels less frequently due to financial concerns.


Market estimates indicate that diabetes roughly doubles the medical expenses of sufferers; and younger (under-45) patients are more likely to be dependent on employer-based or private insurance (60 percent, versus 48 percent for those ages 45 to 64), making them especially vulnerable to fluctuations in the economy. In addition, Generations X (roughly ages 34 to 48) and Y (ages 20 to 33) are known to see themselves as “Invincibles,” immune to serious health conditions and able to “go it alone.”

“Today’s 18-to-45 age group will one day represent the majority of diabetes patients – and the corners they are cutting now will impact their health and treatment options in the years to come,” said Mary McBride, Vice President of the Roper Diabetes Patient Study in North America. “Generations X and Y have lower incomes, rely on uncertain sources of insurance, and have a penchant for seeing themselves as ‘invincible’ – a recipe for inadequate diabetes treatment. Plain-spoken education about the dangers of their condition when not properly assessed or managed could go a long way toward bringing these young adult sufferers back into compliance.”