Unnatural death more common with diabetes

Causes of death include fatal poisonings caused by overdoses of insulin and hypoglycemic drugs.

Unnatural death rates higher in diabetes patients
Unnatural death rates higher in diabetes patients

HealthDay News -- Individuals with diabetes are twice as likely to die from unnatural causes including suicide, preventable harm from medical treatments, and accidents, according to researchers.

To examine the risk of unnatural death among individuals with diabetes, Roger T. Webb, PhD, of the University of Manchester, and colleagues conducted a cohort study that included 252,191 patients diagnosed with type 1 or 2 diabetes, as well as matched comparison patients. Their findings were published in Diabetes Care.

Compared with the general population, patients with diabetes had an increased risk of unnatural death (77.3 versus 32.1 deaths per 10,000; relative risk, 2.2; 95% CI: 2.1-2.4).

Among patients with diabetes, increased risk of death was observed for suicide (RR, 3.4; 95%CI: 3.0-3.8), homicide (RR, 3.1; 95% CI; 1.6-6.1), iatrogenic effects (RR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.9- 3.2), and accident (RR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.9-2.1).

Risk was highly elevated for fatal poisonings from psychotropic drugs, other medications, narcotics, alcohol, and carbon monoxide; almost 9% of fatal poisonings were caused by overdoses of insulin or hypoglycemic drugs.

“Various causes of unnatural death, in particular deliberate and accidental poisonings, occur more frequently among diabetic patients,” wrote the researchers. “Before preventive strategies can be implemented, a deeper understanding of the risk factors and causal mechanisms explaining the marked elevations in risk is needed.”

References

  1. Webb R et al. Diabetes Care. 2014; doi: 10.2337/dc14-0005

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