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For Immediate Release: November 1, 2007
Contact: National Center for Chronic Disease
Prevention and Health Promotion, Office of Communication
(770) 488-5131



Cardiovascular Disease Decreasing Among Adults with Diabetes

Separate Report Finds People with Diabetes Doing a Better Job of Checking Blood Sugar

Two CDC studies say adults with diabetes report they are doing better at the vital job of monitoring their blood sugar, and fewer say they’ve developed cardiovascular disease.

Among people aged 35 years and older with diagnosed diabetes, the prevalence of cardiovascular disease decreased by over 11 percent over an eight year period, according to, " Trends in Prevalence of Self–Reported Cardiovascular Disease Among Adults with Diabetes Aged 35 Years and Older, United States, 1997 – 2005," published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).   The report’s authors note the decrease may be due in part to declining rates of cardiovascular disease risk factors such as smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and to increased use of preventive treatments such as daily aspirin.

Self–reported cardiovascular disease among black adults with diabetes decreased by more than 25 percent between 1997 and 2005.  Blacks tend to have higher diabetes rates than whites and Hispanics, the other racial/ethnic groups included in the report.

The report, which analyzed self-reported data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), also notes a 14 percent decrease in self–reported cardiovascular disease among adults aged 35–64 years with diabetes, the age range in which the majority of all new diagnosed cases of diabetes among adults occur.   During 1997 to 2005, prevalence of self–reported cardiovascular disease in this age group decreased from 31.1 percent in 1997 to 26.7 percent in 2005.

" Cardiovascular disease is not only the leading cause of death for Americans, it is also the greatest killer of adults with diabetes," said Nilka Burrows, CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation and the lead author of the report.  " While the trends in this report are very encouraging, it is important that we continue to take steps to help prevent and control diabetes, which will also aid in the fight against cardiovascular disease."

About 65 percent of deaths in people with diabetes are caused by heart disease and stroke.  Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about two to four times higher than adults without diabetes.

A second MMWR report, " Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose Among Adults with Diabetes – United States, 1997 – 2006," found significant increases in daily monitoring of blood glucose levels among adults with diabetes.   Using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), researchers found that adults with diabetes who checked their blood glucose levels at least once a day increased by over 22 percent between 1997 and 2006.

In 2006, over 63 percent of respondents checked their blood glucose at least once daily.  This surpassed the national health objective of 61 percent, as outlined in Healthy People 2010, a government framework for achieving specific health objectives by the year 2010.

Blood glucose is the main sugar that the body makes from the food we eat.  Blood glucose control is critical for managing diabetes and preventing diabetes-related complications such as heart disease, foot and leg amputation, and retinopathy, which can lead to blindness.

" People are taking better advantage of a tool that can aid in making critical decisions about how to treat their diabetes," said Liping Pan, lead author of the report. " Continued education about diabetes self-management can help ensure that people have the knowledge to continue – or start – taking steps to prevent or control diabetes."

CDC, through its Division of Diabetes Translation, funds diabetes prevention and control programs in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and seven U.S. territories and island jurisdictions. The National Diabetes Education Program, co–sponsored by CDC and NIH, provides diabetes education to improve the treatment and outcomes for people with diabetes, promote early diagnosis, and prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.

For the full MMWR reports, visit www.cdc.gov/mmwr.  For general information about diabetes, visit www.cdc.gov/diabetes.

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

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