ATLANTA, May 23 (UPI) -- For people with diabetes, the death rates for heart disease and stroke dropped substantially -- 40 percent -- from 1997 to 2006, U.S. researchers found.
Ann Albright, director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Diabetes Translation, and colleagues analyzed 1997-2004 National Health Interview Survey data involving 250,000 adults who were linked to the National Death Index.
Although adults with diabetes still are more likely to die younger than those who do not have the disease, the gap was narrowing due to better diabetes management, healthy lifestyle changes and better cardiovascular disease treatment.
The study published in the journal Diabetes Care also found people with diabetes were less likely to smoke and more likely to be physically active than in the past.
Although people with diabetes had better control of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, obesity levels among people with diabetes continued to rise.
"Taking care of your heart through healthy lifestyle choices is making a difference, but Americans continue to die from a disease that can be prevented," Albright said in a statement. "Although the cardiovascular disease death rate for people with diabetes has dropped, it is still twice as high as for adults without diabetes."