Diabetics account for 24% of ED visits among middle-aged, older adults

Nearly a quarter of all emergency department (ED) visits in 2015 for U.S. patients older than 45 were made by diabetics, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

That proportion rose to 24 percent from 18 percent in 2012, with increases across all age ranges. In 2015, diabetics accounted for 20 percent of ED visits among 45- to 64-year-olds, 32 percent of ED visits in the 65-74 age range and 27 percent of ED visits in the 75 and older group.

These data are particularly noteworthy in light of other research demonstrating the additional resources it takes to care for these individuals. A 2013 study found each diabetic patient in the U.S. averaged healthcare expenditures of $13,700 when including diabetes-related costs and complications.

According to the NCHS, 22 percent of diabetics aged 45-64 who visit the ED require hospital admission, versus 12 percent of patients without diabetes in the same age range.