Thursday, April 24, 2014

Diabetes Complication Rates Falling, But New Cases on the Rise

(Salt Lake City, UT) – A New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) study shows rates of diabetes complications such as amputations, kidney disease, heart attack and stroke dropped between 1990 and 2010.

“In Utah, we saw similar results when we looked at crude rates of complications,” said Brenda Ralls, PhD, Utah Department of Health epidemiologist. “Utah data show a slight drop in some of the complications mentioned in the study, which is terrific. Unfortunately, Utahns are still eating too much of the wrong foods and getting too little exercise. Those behaviors have nearly doubled our rate of diabetes, from 3.8 percent in 1990 to 7.2 percent in 2012,” Rollins added.

For people to best manage diabetes after being diagnosed, it is critical they work with their health care provider. “Working with a doctor, maintaining a healthy weight, eating nutritious foods, and getting daily physical activity are key,” said Ralls. “Taking medication as prescribed and getting health screenings is also critical in managing the disease and avoiding complications.” According to Utah data, more than 135,000 Utah adults have been diagnosed with diabetes, and about 500 Utahns die every year from the disease and its omplications.

Too prevent diabetes, daily exercise and limiting sugary foods and drinks are key. To learn more about managing the disease, visit See the NEJM study at

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The mission of the Utah Department of Health is to protect the public's health through preventing avoidable illness, injury, disability and premature death, assuring access to affordable, quality health care, and promoting healthy lifestyles.