Blog | Thursday, May 24, 2012

QD: News Every Day--Diabetes kills far fewer as treatments improve

Death rates among diabetic mean and women declined substantially between 1997 and 2006, particularly among excess death due to the disease, a study found.

To determine whether all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality declined between 1997 and 2006, researchers from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention compared 3-year death rates of four consecutive nationally representative samples (1997–1998, 1999–2000, 2001–2002, and 2003–2004) of U.S. adults using data from the National Health Interview Surveys linked to National Death Index.

Results appeared in the June issue of Diabetes Care.

Among diabetic adults, the cardiovascular disease mortality declined by 40% (95% confidence interval [CI], 23% to 54%) and all-cause mortality declined by 23% (95% CI, 10% to 35%) between the earliest and latest samples.

Men and women shared the benefits of declining mortality rates, the study noted.

The excess cardiovascular disease mortality rate associated with diabetes compared with nondiabetic adults decreased by 60% (from 5.8 to 2.3 cardiovascular disease deaths per 1,000) while the excess all-cause mortality rate declined by 44% (from 10.8 to 6.1 deaths per 1,000).

Authors noted that, while results of the study are encouraging, diabetes prevalence is likely to rise in the future if diabetes incidence is not curtailed.

The authors wrote, "Although excess mortality risk remains high--about 2 deaths per 1,000 due to CVD and about 6 all-cause deaths--this excess risk is now considerably lower than previous reports and consistent with improvements in several risk factors, complications, and indicators of medical care and representative of gradual, ongoing improvement in health for people with diagnosed diabetes."

But the gains are fragile, the authors noted. As fewer people die from diabetes, it will become more prevalent overall, requiring physicians to diagnose and treat its vascular and neuropathic effects.