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Complications From Diabetes on the Decline in US

New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the five major complications related to diabetes have declined in the United States during the last 20 years.

This study offers the first broad national picture of progress against some of the most devastating complications of diabetes, which affects millions of Americans. It’s findings are that the following complications had fell sharply in the last two decades.


1. Lower-limb amputation

2. End-stage kidney failure

3. Heart attack

4. Stroke

5. Deaths due to hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar

Rates of heart attacks and death from hyperglycemic shock have each fallen by two-thirds, the steepest declines of all. The rates of strokes and amputations have each declined by half, and the rate of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) dropped by 30 percent.

Diabetes is ranked as the seventh leading cause of death in the country, according to the CDC. About 26 million Americans currently have the disease, and nearly three times that number are at risk for developing diabetes.

The CDC researchers examined trends in the occurrence of complications by reviewing data from the National Health Interview Survey, National Hospital Discharge Survey, U.S. Renal Data System, and Vital Statistics between 1990 and 2010.

The study has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“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.” said Edward Gregg, a senior epidemiologist in CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation and lead author of the study.

The success in the decline can be attributed to earlier screenings and better health education. However the battle is only half won.

Over that same period of time, the CDC reports that the number of Americans living with diabetes have tripled from 6.7 million to about 20 million.

S.C. Rhyne is a blogger and novelist in New York City. Follow the author on Twitter @ReporterandGirl, and visit her website at

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