New Dramatic Drop in Mortality Rates for Type 1 Diabetes in Allegheny County, Finds University of Pittsburgh Study

Apr 26, 2001, 01:00 ET from UPMC Health System

    PITTSBURGH, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Mortality rates for people with
 type 1 diabetes are on the decline for the first time in Allegheny County
 since researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public
 Health began tracking these rates 20 years ago.  Investigators believe this
 drop may be occurring nationwide.  They report on their findings in the May
 issue of "Diabetes Care," a journal of the American Diabetes Association.
     "For Allegheny County children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the late
 1970s, the chance of dying after 20 years has dropped by more than 50
 percent," said Senior Investigator Trevor Orchard, M.D., professor of
 epidemiology, medicine and pediatrics.  "These dramatic changes reflect the
 improvements in diabetes management that began in the early 1980s, once
 patients were able to monitor their blood sugars better and physicians could
 monitor the effects of treatment changes using the hemoglobin A1c test -- a
 long-term blood sugar test.  We suspect these changes are likely to be seen
 generally, beyond Allegheny County."
     Type 1 diabetes usually begins before the age of 30 and affects some
 750,000 Americans.  People with this disease have lost their ability to
 produce the hormone insulin, which controls blood sugar, and therefore they
 require daily insulin injections.  For more than 20 years, Dr. Orchard and his
 colleagues have been following 1,075 type 1 diabetes patients in Allegheny
 County (Pa.) who were diagnosed between 1965 and 1979.  Until recently, these
 patients experienced a consistently high mortality rate.  Their most recent
 analysis, however, shows a first-time, significant drop in mortality rate
 among those diagnosed later in the 14-year period.
     Of the 1,075 patients identified at the study's start in 1980, 75 deaths
 were observed in the 20 years after diagnosis, with significantly more deaths
 occurring among patients diagnosed in 1965-1969 (33 patients, or 8.4 percent)
 than among those diagnosed in 1975-1979 (15 patients, or 3.5 percent).
     The mortality of African-Americans was significantly higher than that of
 Caucasians, with 50 percent of African-Americans in the study having died
 within 20 years of diagnosis.
     "While mortality was higher among African-Americans with type 1 diabetes
 than it was among Caucasians with type 1 diabetes, the difference was similar
 to racial differences in mortality rates among the general population," said
 Janice Dorman, Ph.D., associate professor of epidemiology and pediatrics, and
 study co-investigator.  "This indicates that factors unrelated to the diabetes
 are responsible for the higher death rates."
     "While the results of this study are encouraging, we still have a long way
 to go in increasing the long-term survival of people with type 1 diabetes,"
 said Dr. Orchard.  "Mortality rates for individuals with this disease are
 still more than twice what they are for people without diabetes."
     A previous University of Pittsburgh study found that mortality rates for
 type 1 diabetics in Allegheny County are significantly higher than those in
 Finland, a country that has one of the highest type 1 diabetic mortality
 rates.
     Established in 1948, the Graduate School of Public Health at the
 University of Pittsburgh is world-renowned for contributions that have
 influenced public health practices and medical care for millions of people.
 It is the only fully accredited school of public health in the Commonwealth of
 Pennsylvania and is one of the top-ranked schools of public health in the
 United States.  It is one of eight schools across the country to be designated
 a Public Health Training Center by the U.S. Department of Health and Human
 Services.  For more information about the school, please access
 http://www.pitt.edu/~gsphhome.
 
     CONTACT:  Kathryn Duda or Frank Raczkiewicz, 412-624-2607, FAX:
 412-624-3184 or E-MAIL: dudak@msx.upmc.edu or raczkiewiczfa@msx.upmc.edu, both
 of UPMC Health System.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X65366576
 
 

SOURCE UPMC Health System
    PITTSBURGH, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Mortality rates for people with
 type 1 diabetes are on the decline for the first time in Allegheny County
 since researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public
 Health began tracking these rates 20 years ago.  Investigators believe this
 drop may be occurring nationwide.  They report on their findings in the May
 issue of "Diabetes Care," a journal of the American Diabetes Association.
     "For Allegheny County children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the late
 1970s, the chance of dying after 20 years has dropped by more than 50
 percent," said Senior Investigator Trevor Orchard, M.D., professor of
 epidemiology, medicine and pediatrics.  "These dramatic changes reflect the
 improvements in diabetes management that began in the early 1980s, once
 patients were able to monitor their blood sugars better and physicians could
 monitor the effects of treatment changes using the hemoglobin A1c test -- a
 long-term blood sugar test.  We suspect these changes are likely to be seen
 generally, beyond Allegheny County."
     Type 1 diabetes usually begins before the age of 30 and affects some
 750,000 Americans.  People with this disease have lost their ability to
 produce the hormone insulin, which controls blood sugar, and therefore they
 require daily insulin injections.  For more than 20 years, Dr. Orchard and his
 colleagues have been following 1,075 type 1 diabetes patients in Allegheny
 County (Pa.) who were diagnosed between 1965 and 1979.  Until recently, these
 patients experienced a consistently high mortality rate.  Their most recent
 analysis, however, shows a first-time, significant drop in mortality rate
 among those diagnosed later in the 14-year period.
     Of the 1,075 patients identified at the study's start in 1980, 75 deaths
 were observed in the 20 years after diagnosis, with significantly more deaths
 occurring among patients diagnosed in 1965-1969 (33 patients, or 8.4 percent)
 than among those diagnosed in 1975-1979 (15 patients, or 3.5 percent).
     The mortality of African-Americans was significantly higher than that of
 Caucasians, with 50 percent of African-Americans in the study having died
 within 20 years of diagnosis.
     "While mortality was higher among African-Americans with type 1 diabetes
 than it was among Caucasians with type 1 diabetes, the difference was similar
 to racial differences in mortality rates among the general population," said
 Janice Dorman, Ph.D., associate professor of epidemiology and pediatrics, and
 study co-investigator.  "This indicates that factors unrelated to the diabetes
 are responsible for the higher death rates."
     "While the results of this study are encouraging, we still have a long way
 to go in increasing the long-term survival of people with type 1 diabetes,"
 said Dr. Orchard.  "Mortality rates for individuals with this disease are
 still more than twice what they are for people without diabetes."
     A previous University of Pittsburgh study found that mortality rates for
 type 1 diabetics in Allegheny County are significantly higher than those in
 Finland, a country that has one of the highest type 1 diabetic mortality
 rates.
     Established in 1948, the Graduate School of Public Health at the
 University of Pittsburgh is world-renowned for contributions that have
 influenced public health practices and medical care for millions of people.
 It is the only fully accredited school of public health in the Commonwealth of
 Pennsylvania and is one of the top-ranked schools of public health in the
 United States.  It is one of eight schools across the country to be designated
 a Public Health Training Center by the U.S. Department of Health and Human
 Services.  For more information about the school, please access
 http://www.pitt.edu/~gsphhome.
 
     CONTACT:  Kathryn Duda or Frank Raczkiewicz, 412-624-2607, FAX:
 412-624-3184 or E-MAIL: dudak@msx.upmc.edu or raczkiewiczfa@msx.upmc.edu, both
 of UPMC Health System.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X65366576
 
 SOURCE  UPMC Health System