Diabetes rates may not be declining, but a Wednesday report by the Centers for Disease Control indicates that there has been a decline in some spin-off results, specifically drops in lower-limb amputation, end-stage renal failure, heart attack and stroke, as well as fewer deaths that can be attributed to high blood sugar.
The CDC said the 20-year decline has meant 50% more diabetes patients have been able to keep their legs, feet and toes. Heart- and sugar-related deaths have plummeted by 60%. For context, however, the CDC notes that the number of patients with a diabetes diagnosis has tripled even while these drastic impacts have been reduced.
The government agency attributes the declines to better access to healthcare services, greater awareness of diabetes complications and better control of risk factors, such as obesity.
The CDC has supported state efforts to drive down diabetes through its National Diabetes Prevention Program which helps the agency collaborate and support state efforts. In addidion, a recent Associated Press report shows that healthcare reform has spurred insurers to take a more active interest in controlling the costs associated with the disease. Current CDC cost estimates indicate that diabetes has $167 billion in direct medical costs every year, in addition to $58 billion in indirect costs, such as death and disability.
The CDC also notes that medical costs for diabetic patients are typically twice as much as those of patients without the condition.