Skip to content

Emergency Room Visits Jump Among Diabetics

Patients more likely to be admitted

Emergency room

Getty Images

People with diabetes are more likely to be admitted to hospitals after going to the emergency room.

A new report finds older Americans with diabetes are spending more time in the emergency room. The National Center for Health Statistics has been tracking hospitalizations and says the latest numbers show 24 percent of people over 45 who went to ERs had diabetes — that’s up from 18 percent three years earlier.

The analysis from 2010 to 2015, the latest data year available, focused on people 45 and older, because that age group accounts for more than 85 percent of the estimated 30 million diabetes cases in America. People in this age group are also most at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, the most common form (about 90 percent of all diabetes cases). Breaking down the age demographic further, people between 65 and 74 with diabetes accounted for 32 percent of all ER visits. 

a chart shows that in 2015, about 24% of all ED visits for patients aged 45 and over were made by those with diabetes

Source: NCHS, CDC

Percentage of all emergency department visits for patients age 45 years and older made by those with diabetes, by age and year.

The analysis also found you’re more likely to have a longer hospital stay if you have diabetes, 28 percent of diabetics tracked in the report were admitted, compared to 17 percent of nondiabetics in that same age group.

If you have diabetes, it can be manageable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends:

  • Stay healthy, especially during flu season. (Diabetics are three times more likely to be hospitalized from the flu.)
  • Increase physical activity.
  • Focus on a balanced diet.
  • Adhere to the appropriate use of insulin and other medications to control blood sugar levels.

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Even more common than type 2 diabetes is pre-diabetes; an estimated 84 million Americans are living with the condition. If not treated, it often leads to diabetes within five years, according to the CDC. Some of the risk factors include being overweight, being physically active less than 3 times a week, and having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes.