Diabetics Face Higher Risk of Unnatural Death

This article originally appeared here.
Deaths include fatal poisonings caused by overdoses of insulin or hypoglycemic drugs.
Deaths include fatal poisonings caused by overdoses of insulin or hypoglycemic drugs.

Unnatural deaths occur more frequently among individuals with diabetes, according to research published online in Diabetes Care.

Roger T. Webb, Ph.D., of the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a cohort study that included 252,191 individuals diagnosed with type 1 or 2 diabetes, as well as matched comparison participants. The authors sought to examine the risk of unnatural death among individuals with diabetes.

The researchers found that, compared with the general population, the risk of unnatural death was increased among individuals with diabetes (77.3 versus 32.1 deaths per 10,000; relative risk [RR], 2.2; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 2.1 to 2.4).

Among individuals with diabetes, increased risk of death was observed for suicide (RR, 3.4; 95 percent CI, 3.0 to 3.8), homicide (RR, 3.1; 95 percent CI, 1.6 to 6.1), iatrogenic effects (RR, 2.4; 95 percent CI, 1.9 to 3.2), and accident (RR, 2.0; 95 percent CI, 1.9 to 2.1). In the diabetes cohort, risk was highly elevated for fatal poisonings from psychotropic drugs, other medications, narcotics, alcohol, and carbon monoxide; almost 9 percent 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," the authors write. "Preventive measures should focus on restricting means of self-poisoning, especially in relation to safe prescribing and medication monitoring."

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