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).
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