Rates of five diabetes-related complications, including lower-limb amputations, have declined substantially in the last 20 years among U.S. adults with diabetes, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study.
The study, which was published in the April 17 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, examined trends in diabetes-related complications from 1990-2010. The number of adults reporting diabetes during this timeframe more than tripled-from 6.5 million to 20.7 million.
Rates of lower-limb amputation, end-stage kidney failure, heart attack, stroke, and deaths due to high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) all declined. Cardiovascular complications and deaths from high blood sugar decreased by more than 60 percent each, while the rates of both strokes and lower-limb amputations-including upper and lower legs, ankles, feet, and toes-declined by about 50 percent. Rates for end stage kidney failure fell by about 30 percent.
“These findings show that we have come a long way in preventing complications and improving quality of life for people with diabetes,” said Edward Gregg, PhD, a senior epidemiologist in CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation and lead author of the study. “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.”
Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes and an additional 79 million have prediabetes and are at risk of developing the disease, according to the CDC. Diabetes and its complications account for $176 billion in total medical costs each year.