Only Fraction of Diabetes-Related Deaths Are Accurately Reported According to Study

Diabetes may be the third leading cause of death in the United States based on a new study.

Data from National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) indicates 12% of deaths between the years 1997-2011 could be attributed to diabetes. However, only 3.3% of those deaths actually listed diabetes on the death certificates.

Co-authors Andrew Stokes, PhD, a demographer at the Center for Global Health and Development, Boston University School of Public Health, in Massachusetts, and Samuel H Preston, PhD, of the Department of Sociology and Population Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, explains, “When deaths were added in which diabetes was mentioned on the death certificate elsewhere than as the underlying cause of death, the proportion rose to 10.8%.”

In 1980, 5.53 million people in the United States had diabetes according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Their latest report states 21.95 million people are now affected by the disease, a 296% increase. Stokes and Preston’s study supports diabetes could be the third leading cause ahead of heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory and brain diseases.

The study underlines the importance of population-health management and intervention focused on the prevention and care of people with diabetes.

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David Quandt
VP, Business Development

Real full study here: Stokes A, Preston SH (2017) Deaths Attributable to Diabetes in the United States: Comparison of Data Sources and Estimation Approaches. PLoS ONE 12(1): e0170219. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0170219