For those persons living in Indianapolis specifically, and in Indiana in general, there was an excellent article in the Thursday, March 3, 2011 issue in the Indianapolis Star. The title of the article is, “Study: Diabetes Cuts Lives Short.”
The article was written by Stephanie Nano of the Associated Press. It listed details from the original article published in the March 3, 2011 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The article spoke about a 50 year old person with diabetes who can die 6 years earlier than someone without the disease. The other eye opening fact brought out was that the earlier death is not just due to heart disease or stroke, but from other causes such as breast cancer and pneumonia.
How was the data collected? A multi-center team of researchers pooled results from 97 prospective studies, and examined 123,205 deaths from 820,900 people. What do we know about the numbers? Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. It affects about 26 million persons, including 7 million who don’t even know that they have the disease.
Where does Indiana rank with regard to diabetes? Indiana ranks 15th in the United States for the prevalence of diabetes,with 714,000 persons having the disease and 1.65 million persons being pre-diabetic. Most of the persons in these studies have the form of diabetes known as Type 2 Diabetes, which occurs when the body makes too little insulin or it cannot use what it does make to regulate blood sugar.
Did the research include those patients with heart disease at the time that they were first enrolled in the studies? No. Persons enrolled were followed on an average for at least 13.5 years, and more than 123,000 died.
What risk factors were considered by the researchers? Age, gender, smoking, and weight. Type 2 diabetes was associated with obesity. Researchers found that those persons with dabetes had double the risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke, compared to those without the disease. But in additon, diabetic patients had a 25 per cent higher risk of dying from cancer and were more likely to die from a variety of illnesses, including infections and lung and kidney disease, and even falls.
What is the proper conclusion to draw from this research? For those persons who have diabetes, it is very important to achieve normal serum glucose or blood sugar levels. How can that goal be achieved? It really takes a combination of diet, exercise, and medication.