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Diabetes epidemic could erase reductions in deaths & hospitalizations due to heart disease

Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have documented a dramatic upsurge in diabetes-related deaths and illnesses in New York City--including a sharp increase in diabetic patients hospitalized with heart attacks. They warn that this upsurge in diabetic complications may end the long-term trend of progressively fewer heart attacks and heart-attack deaths in the U.S.

"Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S., and the leading cause of death among people with diabetes is coronary heart disease," notes Dr. Michael Alderman, professor of epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and senior author of the paper, published in the February issue of Diabetes. "We expected to see an increase in hospitalizations due to heart attacks among diabetics, but we were surprised by the magnitude of the increase and the sharply rising trend indicated by these findings.

"The incidence of diabetes has been increasing at an alarming rate in this country over the past decade," adds Dr. Alderman. "Diabetes itself is an important cause of death. But in addition, people with diabetes are likely to succumb to heart disease and heart attacks. So we wanted to determine how the upsurge in diabetes is affecting the number of hospitalizations and deaths in New York, a city with a large and diverse population."

The Einstein researchers looked at New York City Department of Health mortality records for two three-year periods--1989 through 1991 and 1999 through 2001. This information included the underlying cause of death listed on each individual's death certificate. The data on hospitalizations during the same periods were provided by the New York State Department of Health. The analyses were limited to people 35 years and older.

During the decade between these two three-year time spans, mortality rates due to stroke, cancer and all other diseases declined--with the notable exception of
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Contact: Karen Gardner
kgardner@aecom.yu.edu
718-430-3101
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
27-Feb-2006


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