The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Food & Health

April 17, 2014

Study: Diabetic heart attacks and strokes falling

(Continued)

NEW YORK —

For the new study, the CDC tallied complication rates from 1990 to 2010 for diabetics ages 20 or older.

During that time, the heart attack rate fell 68 percent, from 141 to 45.5 per 10,000 diabetics, according to hospital records.

The decline was so great that, despite the growing ranks of diabetics, the actual number hospitalized with heart attacks dropped from more than 140,000 to about 136,000.

The stroke rate fell less dramatically — but still declined by more than half, finishing at 53 per 10,000. The heart attack and stroke rates for diabetics are essentially even now, lead author Edward Gregg noted.

The researchers saw declines in hearts attack and stroke rates for non-diabetics as well, but those improvements weren't nearly as big as they were for diabetics.

Amputation rates also fell by more than half. However, like strokes, the actual number increased over the two decades.

The growth in the number of diabetics "wiped out most of the gains" from the declining rates, so the number who ended up in the hospital for strokes or amputations swelled, said Dr. Robert Gabbay, of Boston's Joslin Diabetes Center.

The study also found that the rate of kidney failure dropped by 28 percent. But that wasn't true for all ages — the rate in those 65 and older actually increased, for reasons that aren't clear. That could be a sign diabetics are living longer — long enough to get kidney disease, Gregg speculated.

The researchers also looked at a less common complication, death caused by dangerous levels of blood sugar. The rate of such deaths dropped by 64 percent; the numbers also declined by 18 percent. In 2010, those deaths totaled 2,361.

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