According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the rate of complications from diabetes declined significantly in the US between 1990 and 2010.
The chronic condition, which affects an estimated 25.8 million Americans according to the CDC, is associated with a long list of potential complications including kidney failure, amputations, heart disease, stroke and even death due to hyperglycemic crisis.
By analyzing data from four key sources of US medical data, researchers at the Center for Disease Control observed dramatic declines in a number of these complications between 1990 and 2010.
The rate of acute myocardial infarction — commonly known as heart attack — declined by 68%, while the rate of death by hyperglycemic crisis dropped by 64%. The rate of stroke and amputations among diabetes patients were halved over the period. Finally, end-stage renal disease (kidney failure) decreased by 28.3%.
To reduce the risk of complications and better control patients’ blood sugar levels, the study’s authors emphasize the importance of early diagnosis and treatment. They also indicate that while the decrease in complications is heartening, “a large burden of disease persists because of the continued increase in the prevalence of diabetes.”