Study finds fewer US diabetes deaths from heart disease, stroke

A recent government study found a 40 percent drop in death rates among US adults with diabetes from heart disease and strokes, according to a Reuters news report.

Despite this decline, adults with diabetes still have double the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease as people without diabetes.

The study analyzed data on 250,000 patients and was conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health.

Researchers also found that overall death rates among this cohort declined 23 percent from 1997 to 2006.

Compared to the past, people with diabetes are less likely to smoke cigarettes and more likely to be physically active, according to the Reuters report.

The CDC found that better control of high blood pressure and high cholesterol may also have contributed to the lower death rates.

However, the study found that obesity levels continue to rise among people living with diabetes.

Diabetes risk factors
Obesity or overweight are leading risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. Being overweight may prevent the body from making and using insulin properly and can lead to high blood pressure.

Other risk factors include a family history of diabetes, personal history of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, high HDL (“good”) cholesterol or high triglycerides, physical inactivity, and ethnicity/race.

Previous research studies reported that losing five to seven percent of total body weight can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes among adults at high-risk of the disease, according to the CDC.

The CDC recommends achieving this through 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week and eating a healthy diet.

Examples of moderate-intensity exercise include brisk walking, gardening, dancing, swimming or bicycling. It's best to do some physical activity every day instead of a long workout once a week.

The CDC suggests eating less fat, salt and sugar in the diet and consuming smaller portions.

It recommends consuming more whole-grain foods like oatmeal, whole-wheat breads, whole grain rice and breakfast cereals. Whole fruits and vegetables such as beans, legumes, and dark green and orange vegetables are essential to a healthy diet as well.

Sources: Reuters, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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