The number of Americans with diabetes has more than tripled in the last twenty years. Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes and 79 million more are pre-diabetic and at risk of developing the disease.
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds rates of five major diabetes-related complications have declined substantially in the last twenty years. Rates of lower leg amputations, end stage kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and death due to high blood sugar all declined.
Cardiovascular complications and deaths from high blood sugar decreased by more than sixty percent each, while the rates of both strokes and lower body amputations declined about half. Rates of end stage kidney failure fell by thirty percent.
"These findings show that we have come a long way in preventing complications and improving quality of life for people with diabetes," says Edward Gregg, Ph.D., a senior epidemiologist with the CDC.
The declines in diabetes-related complications are attributed to increased availability of health care services, better control of risk factors and increased awareness of the potential complications of diabetes.
"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," says Gregg.