A major federal study points to vast improvements in the fight against diabetes-related ailments, thanks in large part to improving treatment. Complications from diabetes have plummeted over two decades, the New York Times reports: For instance, heart attacks among diabetes sufferers have dropped 68% since 1990 (and 31% in the general population). Deaths from high blood sugar sank 64%, Reuters reports, and rates of stroke and lower-limb amputations plunged by about half. The rate of serious kidney disease, meanwhile, dropped by about 28%.
"This is the first really credible, reliable data that demonstrates that all of the efforts at reducing risk have paid off," says an expert. Among those efforts: educating patients on how to take care of themselves, and better use of medications that control factors that can fuel complications, like blood sugar and cholesterol. The bad news: The period between 1990 and 2010 saw the number of Americans with diabetes more than triple to 26 million, the Times notes, with most of those cases being Type 2. An additional 79 million Americans face a high risk of becoming diabetic, and the disease costs about $176 billion every year. Overall, "I tend to see this (study) as more good news than bad news," says its lead author. (Read more diabetes stories.)