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Rates of Type 1 Diabetes Complications Decline in U.S.

Mortality, renal failure, neuropathy have declined since the 1950s

FRIDAY, May 12 (HealthDay News) -- Rates of type 1 diabetes-related mortality, renal failure and neuropathy have declined in the United States since the 1950s, while rates of other diabetes-related complications such as coronary artery disease have remained unchanged, according to a study in the May issue of Diabetes.

Georgia Pambianco, M.S., M.P.H., of the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues analyzed data on complications in 906 individuals diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, who were divided into cohorts based on their year of diagnosis: 1950 to 1959, 1960 to 1964, 1965 to 1969, 1970 to 1974, or 1975 to 1980.

The researchers found that rates of mortality, renal failure and neuropathy significantly declined with time, with fivefold higher mortality in those diagnosed in the 1950s compared with those diagnosed in the 1970s after 25 years of follow-up. Although proliferative retinopathy and overt neuropathy showed non-significant declines after 20 years of follow-up, there was no change after 25 years. Rates of coronary artery disease did not change, according to the study.

"Although some type 1 diabetes complications (mortality, renal failure and neuropathy) are declining, others (coronary artery disease, overt nephropathy and proliferative retinopathy) show less favorable changes by 30 years," Pambianco and colleagues conclude. They note that "some of the improvements appear to be lost with longer follow-up, suggesting the major change has been delay not prevention."

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