Australians with diabetes experience much higher death rates than those without, with some particularly concerning trends seen among those with type 2 diabetes, according to a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The report, Death among people with diabetes in Australia, examines the 156,000 deaths that occurred between 2009 and 2014 in people with diabetes who were registered with the National Diabetes Services Scheme, and shows a significant disparity in death rates for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
‘We found that overall death rates among people with diabetes were almost twice as high as the general population,’ said AIHW spokesperson Dr Lynelle Moon.
Importantly, the report also suggests a widening gap in death rates between people with type 2 diabetes and the general population.
‘Overall in Australia, there is a trend toward lower death rates, but for people with type 2 diabetes, these improvements have not been seen. In fact, death rates among people with type 2 diabetes increased by 10% between 2009 and 2014, mainly driven by the increase among the very old (85 and over),’ Dr Moon said.
‘And death rates from cardiovascular disease remained fairly stable for people with type 2 diabetes, despite improvements in cardiovascular death rates in Australia generally’.
The report shows some good news when it comes to death rates for people with type 1 diabetes, with rates falling by 20% between 2009 and 2014, which was a larger improvement than that observed in the general population.
When looking at both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the disparity in death rates between people with diabetes and the general population was greatest at younger ages.
‘Death rates were 4.5 times as high for people aged under 45 with type 1 diabetes and almost 6 times as high for those with type 2 diabetes, compared with the Australian population of the same age,’ Dr Moon said.
The report also shows that death rates among people with diabetes increased with socioeconomic disadvantage and remoteness.
‘Overall, diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke were the most common underlying causes of death among people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Kidney failure was also a leading cause of death for people with type 1 diabetes, while dementia was a common cause of death in those with type 2 diabetes,’ Dr Moon said.