Diabetes causes 12% of deaths rather than previously estimated 3.3%, study suggests

Written by Kelly Gooch | April 10, 2017 | Print  |

Diabetes may be causing more deaths than previously thought, according to estimates in a recent study.

For the study, researchers examined mortality consequences of diabetes in U.S. adults surveyed in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1999 and 2010 and in the National Health Interview Survey between 1997 and 2009. Researchers said the survey respondents were followed prospectively for mortality through 2011.

Overall, the study found nearly four times the number of U.S. adults may die of diabetes than is documented on death certificates, reports The Washington Post.

"We argue diabetes is responsible for 12 percent of deaths in the U.S., rather than 3.3 percent that death certificates indicate," lead study author Andrew Stokes of the Boston University School of Public Health told the publication.

After comparing mortality of diabetics to information on their death certificates, the study found the proportion of deaths attributable to diabetes was estimated to be 11.5 percent using self-reported data in NHIS, 11.7 percent using self-reported data in NHANES and 11.8 percent using A1C levels in NHANES. Researchers said they found the highest proportion of deaths attributable to diabetes was among obese Americans at 19.4 percent.

"Diabetes may represent a more prominent factor in American mortality than is commonly appreciated, reinforcing the need for robust population-level interventions aimed at diabetes prevention and care," the study's authors concluded.

 

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