5 Diabetes Complications Have Dropped Dramatically

Good news for people with diabetes. The rates of five complications due to diabetes have dropped dramatically during the last 20 years, according to a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

1. Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) – decreased by more than 60 percent

2. Heart attack – cardiovascular complications and deaths decreased by more than 60 percent

3. Stroke – declined by 50 percent

4. Lower-limb amputation, including toes, feet, ankles, lower and upper legs – declined by 50 percent

5. End-stage kidney failure – declined by about 30 percent

The rates of heart attack and stroke showed significant decline among people with diabetes who are 75 years old or older.

“These findings show that we have come a long way in preventing complications and improving quality of life for people with diabetes,” said the study’s lead author, Edward Gregg, Ph.D., in a press release. “While the declines in complications are good news, they are still high and will stay with us unless we can make substantial progress in preventing type 2 diabetes.” Dr. Gregg is a senior epidemiologist in CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation.

Study authors credit the declines to better health care services, risk factor control, and awareness. Unfortunately, the number of people with type 2 diabetes has been on the rise. According to the American Diabetes Association, about 25.8 million Americans have diabetes, but many of them don’t know it. About five percent of those diagnosed with diabetes have type 1. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease and is sometimes called “insulin-dependent diabetes.”

While some factors that contribute to type 2 diabetes are unavoidable, there are many things we can do to lower our risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Risk factors include aging, obesity, family history of diabetes, gestational diabetes, and physical inactivity.

Full details of the study of adults in the United States between 1990 and 2010 are published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

For more information about diabetes and diabetes-related complications, visit these sites:
Centers for Disease Control/Diabetes
National Diabetes Education Program
American Diabetes Association

Related Reading
Diabetes in the Family: Why It’s Your Problem, Too (video)
Diabetes and Your Heart (infographic)
Millions Unknowingly Have This Dangerous DiseaseľAre You One of Them?

Photo: Ingram Publishing, photographer | Thinkstock

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Janice Thompson
Janice Thompsonabout a year ago

That is encouraging. Now find a cure!

Anne K.
Anne K.1 years ago

Thank you!

Anne K.
Anne K.1 years ago

Thank you!

Carole R.
Carole R.1 years ago

Great news. Let's work for a cure.

Val M.
Val M.1 years ago


Lynn C.
Lynn C.1 years ago


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Joanna M.
Joanna M.1 years ago

Great news indeed! Hopefully other illnesses will soon follow...

Overall, diabetes belongs to the category of diseases dubbed "invisible" - since the symptoms are often not easily seen by others, it's often hard for others (even doctors!) to take individuals suffering from them seriously. Yet the further we get into the 21st century, the more of these diseases are being developed, and the more people continuously being diagnosed.

Please do your part - pledge to learn more about invisible illnesses! A little understanding can go a LONG way...


Edo R.
Edo R.1 years ago


JL A.1 years ago

promising results