NEW: Death Rates for People with Diabetes Drops
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Death rates for people with diabetes dropped substantially from 1997 to 2006, especially deaths related to heart disease and stroke.
Dr. David Harlan, director of the UMass Memorial Health Care Diabetes Center said, “Almost every day we hear new bad news about diabetes- primarily related to the fact that an ever increasing number of Americans are being diagnosed with the disease. With an estimated 26 million Americans now afflicted, and against the very real concerns the diabetes epidemic portends for the Nation’s overall health and fiscal well being, the latest study from Dr Gregg and colleagues says all is not lost for the individual with the disease."
Deaths for diabetes patients declined by 23 percent, and deaths related to heart disease and stroke dropped by 40 percent, according to the study published today in the journal Diabetes Care.
Scientists evaluated 1997-2004 National Health Interview Survey data from nearly 250,000 adults who were linked to the National Death Index. Although adults with diabetes still are more likely to die younger than those who do not have the disease, the gap is narrowing.
Improved medical treatment for cardiovascular disease, better management of diabetes, and some healthy lifestyle changes contributed to the decline. People with diabetes were less likely to smoke and more likely to be physically active than in the past. Better control of high blood pressure and high cholesterol also may have contributed to improved health. However, obesity levels among people with diabetes continued to increase.
Dr. Harlan said, “Over the relatively short interval of their study (1997 through 2004), the investigators found that modern diabetes treatments decreased by almost half the excess death rate compared to individuals without diabetes. That great news needs to be considered in context.”
“Taking care of your heart through healthy lifestyle choices is making a difference, but Americans continue to die from a disease that can be prevented,” said Ann Albright, Ph.D., R.D., director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. “Although the cardiovascular disease death rate for people with diabetes has dropped, it is still twice as high as for adults without diabetes.”
Because people with diabetes are living longer and the rate of new cases being diagnosed is increasing, scientists expect the total number of people with the disease will continue to rise. The number of Americans diagnosed with diabetes has more than tripled since 1980, primarily due to type 2 diabetes, which is closely linked to a rise in obesity, inactivity and older age. CDC estimates that 25.8 million Americans have diabetes, and 7 million of them do not know they have the disease.
Dr. Harlan said, “Diabetes is difficult and expensive to treat, and the population with the disease still displays a significantly higher mortality than those without the disease. Clearly then, it is best to avoid the disease and all Americans can do their part by seeing their care providers regularly and following advised healthy living habits (diet, exercise, weight management, smoking cessation, vaccinations). For those with diabetes, this large study shows that strategies to improve blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels can pay big dividends.”
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