Curbing Serious Diabetes-Related Sickness

Disorders linked to diabetes dropped during two decades ending in 2010

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) From stroke to lost limbs, diabetes can create a series of other sicknesses. The medical community has been focused on curbing rates of serious health problems that are linked to diabetes.

In 2010, health data showed that the five major illnesses associated with diabetes all declined over the preceding 20-year period, according to a new study.

"Control your blood sugar levels to prevent complications of diabetes."

The lead author of this study was Edward Gregg, PhD, chief of epidemiology and statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Diabetes Translation, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

For this study, Dr. Gregg and his research colleagues reviewed data from the National Health Interview Survey, National Hospital Discharge Survey, US Renal Data System and US National Vital Statistics System. That data review yielded a count of people whose diabetes resulted in lower-limb amputations, kidney failure, stroke, heart attack or death following a coma caused by a severe spike in blood sugar.

Based on their analysis, these researchers concluded that during the studied period:

  • The number of strokes fell 67.8 percent.
  • Deaths following a diabetic coma dropped 64.4 percent.
  • Strokes declined 52.7 percent.
  • Lower-extremity amputations dipped 51.4 percent.
  • Acute kidney failure, which saw the least decline, dipped 28.3 percent.

"These findings show that we have come a long way in preventing complications and improving quality of life for people with diabetes," Dr. Gregg said in an announcement about the study.

"While the declines in complications are good news," he added, "they are still high and will stay with us unless we can make substantial progress in preventing type 2 diabetes."

The cost of treating diabetes has risen dramatically, given the number of people with the disease.

Those costs have taken a toll on the healthcare system and the individuals with diabetes and diabetes-related complications. Concerns about all those aspects are part of what prompted this study.

“A large burden of disease persists because of the continued increase in the prevalence of diabetes,” the researchers wrote.

This study was published April 16 in the The New England Journal of Medicine.

The CDC funded the study.

Review Date: 
April 16, 2014
Last Updated:
April 19, 2014