Using multiple-cause-of-death data, this study examines diabetes mellitus as a cause of mortality. During the 2004-to-2008 period, diabetes mellitus was listed as either the underlying cause or a contributing cause of 119,617 deaths. It was more than twice as likely to be a contributing than the underlying cause of death. When it was identified as the underlying cause of death, diabetes mellitus was rarely the only cause. The diabetes mellitus mortality rate was relatively high among males, older individuals, and people living in lower-income neighbourhoods. Provincial/Territorial differences in rates of death from diabetes mellitus were considerable. When diabetes mellitus was the underlying cause of death, cardiovascular diseases were listed as a contributing cause most often, and when diabetes mellitus was a contributing cause, cardiovascular diseases were most likely to be the underlying cause.
Keywords: Cardiovascular diseases; comorbidity; data linkage; death certificates; socio-economic factors; vital statistics.