WEDNESDAY, March 2 (HealthDay News) -- People with diabetes are
80 percent more likely to die prematurely than those without the
disease -- and it's not just diabetes that's killing them.
Besides dying from vascular problems caused by diabetes, people
with the blood sugar disease are also more likely to die
prematurely from many other causes, including cancer, infections,
falls, liver disease, mental disorders and even suicide, a new
British analysis finds.
"This study confirms that diabetes is associated with higher mortality," said Dr. Camillo Ricordi, director of the Cell Transplant Center and Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "There is a general attitude that diabetes is a treatable disease, that's it's no big deal, that you just take medicine and you have a normal life. Instead, you have a 2.5 increased rate of death."
The report is published in the March 3 issue of the
New England Journal of Medicine.
For the study, a team lead by John Danesh, a professor of
epidemiology and medicine at the University of Cambridge, analyzed
deaths among 820,900 people who took part in 97 studies. Among
those in these studies, 123,205 died.
In this method, called a meta-analysis, researchers look for
patterns in data from a number of studies that confirm a
Danesh's team found that people with diabetes were 80 percent
more likely to die prematurely than those without diabetes.
Moreover, they were 25 percent more likely to die from cancer, with
scientists finding a moderate association between the disease and
death from liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer,
colorectal cancer, and lung, bladder or breast cancer.
The risk of dying from vascular disease, not surprisingly, was
much higher in people with diabetes. But people with diabetes were
also at increased risk for death from liver and kidney disease,
pneumonia, other infectious diseases and chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease, among other ills.
In addition, diabetics were 64 percent more likely to die from
mental disorders and 58 percent more likely to die from suicide,
mostly because they were more likely to be depressed. They were
also 70 percent more likely to die from falls than people without
diabetes, the researchers found.
The risk of premature death was closely associated with blood
sugar levels, with an excess risk of death at blood glucose fasting
levels exceeding 100 milligrams per deciliter. There was no excess
risk of death at fasting levels of 70 to 100 mg per dL, the
"In addition to vascular disease, diabetes is associated with substantial premature death from several cancers, infectious diseases, external causes, intentional self-harm and degenerative disorders, independent of major risk factors," the study authors wrote. "These findings highlight the need to better understand and prevent the multi-system consequences of diabetes."
Ricordi said that although all the reasons that result in the
greater risk of death among diabetics aren't known, high blood
sugar and inflammation are key players. These can decrease the
body's ability to fight off infections and even cancer, he
"We have to continue to find a cure and to prevent diabetes," he said. "We cannot think it can just be managed with drugs."
For more on diabetes, visit the
U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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