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Rates of diabetes complications show decline, study finds

Thursday April 17, 2014
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Rates of five major diabetes-related complications have declined substantially in the last 20 years among U.S. adults with diabetes, according to a CDC study.

Rates of lower-limb amputation, end-stage kidney failure, myocardial infarction, stroke and deaths due to hyperglycemia all declined, researchers reported in the April 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Cardiovascular complications and deaths from hyperglycemia decreased by more than 60% each, while the rates of both strokes and lower-extremity amputations declined by about half. Rates for end-stage kidney failure fell by about 30%.

“These findings show that we have come a long way in preventing complications and improving quality of life for people with diabetes,” Edward Gregg, PhD, a senior epidemiologist in the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation and lead author of the study, said in a news 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.”

Because the number of adults reporting diabetes during this time frame more than tripled — from 6.5 million to 20.7 million — major diabetes complications continue to put a heavy burden on the U.S. healthcare system. Diabetes and its complications account for $176 billion in total medical costs each year. Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes and an additional 79 million have prediabetes.

CDC researchers used data from the National Health Interview Survey, National Hospital Discharge Survey, U.S. Renal Data System and Vital Statistics to examine trends in the occurrence of diabetes-related complications in the U.S. between 1990 and 2010.

The study authors attribute the declines in diabetes-related complications to increased availability of healthcare services, risk factor control and increases in awareness of the potential complications of diabetes.

Study: www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1310799


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