However, Narula and the CDC researchers noted that obesity levels among people with diabetes continued to increase during the study period.
"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," Ann Albright, director of CDC's division of diabetes translation, said in a CDC news release. "Although the cardiovascular disease death rate for people with diabetes has dropped, it is still twice as high as for adults without diabetes."
The study was published May 22 in the journal Diabetes Care.
Previous research has found that rates of heart disease and stroke are declining for all U.S. adults, and those rates are dropping faster for people with diabetes for those without diabetes.
Recent CDC studies also found that people with diabetes have declining rates of kidney failure, amputation of feet and legs, and hospitalization for heart disease and stroke.
The number of Americans diagnosed with diabetes has tripled since 1980. The CDC estimates that 25.8 million Americans currently have diabetes, but 7 million of them are not aware they have the disease.
In 2009, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, and is the leading cause of new cases of kidney failure, blindness among adults younger than 75, and amputation of feet and legs not related to injury.
Medical costs for people with diabetes are more than twice as high as for people without diabetes. The estimated total costs of diabetes in the United States are $174 billion, including $116 in direct medical costs.
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