Objective: To determine whether all-cause and cardiovascular disease (CVD) death rates declined between 1997 and 2006, a period of continued advances in treatment approaches and risk factor control, among U.S. adults with and without diabetes.
Research design and methods: We compared 3-year death rates of four consecutive nationally representative samples (1997-1998, 1999-2000, 2001-2002, and 2003-2004) of U.S. adults aged 18 years and older using data from the National Health Interview Surveys linked to National Death Index.
Results: Among diabetic adults, the CVD death rate declined by 40% (95% CI 23-54) and all-cause mortality declined by 23% (10-35) between the earliest and latest samples. There was no difference in the rates of decline in mortality between diabetic men and women. The excess CVD mortality rate associated with diabetes (i.e., compared with nondiabetic adults) decreased by 60% (from 5.8 to 2.3 CVD deaths per 1,000) while the excess all-cause mortality rate declined by 44% (from 10.8 to 6.1 deaths per 1,000).
Conclusions: Death rates among both U.S. men and women with diabetes declined substantially between 1997 and 2006, reducing the absolute difference between adults with and without diabetes. These encouraging findings, however, suggest that diabetes prevalence is likely to rise in the future if diabetes incidence is not curtailed.