Putting the Brakes on Diabetes Complications
Encouraging news: People with diabetes are living longer, healthier lives with fewer complications. What’s the driving force? Greater awareness and better control of risk factors are moving the needle.
We’ve come a long way in reducing the impact of diabetes on people’s lives. In the last 20 years, rates of several major complications have decreased among US adults with diabetes. The greatest declines were for two leading causes of death: heart attack and stroke. (People with diabetes are at higher risk for heart disease, and they may get it more severely and at a younger age than people who don’t have diabetes.) This is meaningful progress.
It’s important to note that during that same 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than tripled as the American population has aged. Diabetes complications still take a heavy toll on the health of millions of people and on our health care system.
Why Complications Are So … Complicated
Diabetes complications often share the same risk factors, and one complication can make other complications worse. For example, many people with diabetes also have high blood pressure, which in turn worsens eye and kidney diseases. Diabetes tends to lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol and raise triglycerides and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, which increases the risk for heart disease and stroke. Smoking doubles the risk of heart disease in people with diabetes.
Take a closer look at these major diabetes complications:
Heart disease and stroke: People with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke as Continue reading