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Here’s another important reason to keep your diabetes well controlled: according to recent research, diabetes accounts for nearly one out of eight deaths in the United States. Put another way, the death rate for people with diabetes is about 90 percent higher than it is for others. That’s much higher than previously believed.

The research results suggest diabetes is the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. Only heart disease and cancer rank higher.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Boston University collaborated on the study, published in PLOS One. Samuel Preston, a sociology professor at Penn and a research associate at the Population Studies Center, said, “If diabetes were eliminated as a disease process, the number of deaths would decline by 12 percent.”

The researchers studied data from two preeminent health datasets, the National Health Interview Survey and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They reviewed the health of roughly 300,000 individuals during their lives and examined their death records too.

More to the story

The higher death rate they found in people with diabetes included deaths from various causes. But people with diabetes sometimes develop serious complications of the disease, such as heart or kidney problems.

“There is only one underlying cause of death on a death certificate,” Preston observed. “Diabetes is not listed as frequently as it is involved in the death of individuals.”

What you can do

Keeping your blood sugar levels under control can help reduce your risk of diabetes complications. Follow the basics of good diabetes care by getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and collaborating with your doctor to develop the most effective treatment regimen possible. Remember, diabetes often changes over time, so your treatments may need to be adjusted too.

Add a comment below to share your tips for living healthfully despite diabetes.