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Frequent Advisor
griseldagriswol
Total Posts: 159
Registered on: ‎11-16-2011

"Died of Complications of Diabetes" - What Does That Mean???

I'm relatively newly diagnosed (09/19/11) and there is a phrase that puts chills up my spine, I'm assuming because I don't know exactly what it means.

 

Now that I know I have this dumb disease, my ears perk up whenever I read that someone who died had it.  And the one thing that I see most often is "died of complications of diabetes".  What does that mean??  If you have diabetes, when you die do they just assume it was from diabetes?  Is there a big pool of death contributing factors that get swept under the heading of complications of diabetes?  I mean, if someone who has diabetes dies of a heart attack, do they say it was a complication of diabetes without actually saying it was a heart attack?

 

I know there are lots of things we are at greater risk for because of this dumb disease but when I read that phrase it throws me into panic mode because there may be something else I should be looking out for that I don't know about.

 

I have my good days (when I behave and feel okay and don't worry too much about it) and then I have my bad days (when I spend tons of time testing, obsessing about results, counting every little morsel, just generally freaking out) and today is apparently a bad day because this is bothering me immensely.

Diagnosed 09/19/11
BG at Diagnosis - 386
A1c at Diagnosis - 11.5
Now that I know all that I know, those are some scary numbers.
A1c 05/14/12 - 6.3
A1c 08/30/12 - 5.9
A1c 05/29/13 - 7.8
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vpennington
Total Posts: 36
Registered on: ‎11-10-2011

Re: "Died of Complications of Diabetes" - What Does That Mean???

I think that the heading of died of complications can mean a lot of things. Heart disease is the main killer of diabetics.

"

"In 2007, diabetes was listed as the underlying cause on 71,382 death certificates and was listed as a contributing factor on an additional 160,022 death certificates. This means that diabetes contributed to a total of 231,404 deaths.

 

  • n 2004, heart disease was noted on 68% of diabetes-related death certificates among people aged 65 years or older.
  • In 2004, stroke was noted on 16% of diabetes-related death certificates among people aged 65 years or older.
  • Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes.
  • The risk for stroke is 2 to 4 times higher among people with diabetes."

http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diabetes-statistics/

 

But, complications arising from kidney disease and amputations could also lead to death, and diabetics are high for having those as well.

 

Personally, I think the statement is vague in and of itself since it does not indicate if it was from stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, high blood glucose coma/death, etc.

 

This is Diabetes Awareness Month, and I hope that your question raises some to realize how important it is to take care of yourself, and lesson the risks of getting this disease. Granted, even the safest driver can die in a car accident, but it does lower the odds.

Established Contributor
fyre522
Total Posts: 1,438
Registered on: ‎10-31-2009

Re: "Died of Complications of Diabetes" - What Does That Mean???

Griselda,

 

First and foremost, welcome to the ADA Boards!  Sorry you ended up with a diagnosis of Diabetes, but you have stumbled upon a great group of people who are here with you to provide support, advice, encouragement, and answer as many of your questions as we can.  So you are most definitely not alone in fighting this fight to manage our disease!

 

You asked for an explanation as to what "died from complications due to diabetes" means.  Basically, it means that whatever killed them was the result from not taking care of themselves and trying to manage their disease properly, which then lead to whatever occurred that ended their life.

 

For example, let's say you are diagnosed with Diabetes.  15 years go by; you haven't been testing that oten or really trying to stay within the "normal" glucose levels that are safe.  You end up in the hospital due to your kidneys starting to shut down.  You die.  Then it could be argued that you didn't just die of kidney failure; they also look to see what caused that failure.  That could have been caused by poor diabetes management/control over the years which stresses out your other organs and it just so happened that your kidneys were the first thing to go.  So now your death was "the result from complications due to diabetes" because if you were dilligent in taking care of yourself and your glucose levels, there is a high probabilty that you would not have then developed kidney failure, so you would still be alive if you had just paid attention and take appropriate steps to correct high (and too low!) blood glucose levels.

 

Hope that helps!  Hopefully I didn't confuse you too bad with my analogy there, hehe!

~Rae~ (Type 1.5, aka LADA)

 Treat every stressful situation like a dog... if you can't eat it or play with it, just pee on it and walk away...

Advair, Albuterol-Isopro mix, Bystolic, Colchicine, Combivent, Fentanyl,   Fish Oil, Furosemide,  Humulin R U-500, Hydroxazine, Iron, Klor-Con, Lipitor, L-Lysine, Magnesium,  Metolazone, Oxycodone, Spironolactone, Topamax, Trilipix, Uloric, Vitamin D 50,000,  Zoloft. 

(Hey, if you took all these meds, you'd need happy pills too!)

alan_s
Total Posts: 15,075
Topics: 210
High Fives: 1,620
Solutions: 181
Registered on: ‎10-30-2009

Re: "Died of Complications of Diabetes" - What Does That Mean???


griseldagriswol wrote:

I'm relatively newly diagnosed (09/19/11) and there is a phrase that puts chills up my spine, I'm assuming because I don't know exactly what it means.

 

Now that I know I have this dumb disease, my ears perk up whenever I read that someone who died had it.  And the one thing that I see most often is "died of complications of diabetes".  What does that mean??  If you have diabetes, when you die do they just assume it was from diabetes?  Is there a big pool of death contributing factors that get swept under the heading of complications of diabetes?  I mean, if someone who has diabetes dies of a heart attack, do they say it was a complication of diabetes without actually saying it was a heart attack?

 

I know there are lots of things we are at greater risk for because of this dumb disease but when I read that phrase it throws me into panic mode because there may be something else I should be looking out for that I don't know about.

 

I have my good days (when I behave and feel okay and don't worry too much about it) and then I have my bad days (when I spend tons of time testing, obsessing about results, counting every little morsel, just generally freaking out) and today is apparently a bad day because this is bothering me immensely.


G'day, and welcome to the forum.

 

I understand your fears; all of us here have been where you are. But we are a little different. Most of us here are reasonably confident those statistics will not apply to us.

 

I'll give you a link to some scary statistics in a moment that will answer your "died of complications of diabetes" question. But first I want to emphasise that there are some words missing in the report. Wherever you see the word "diabetes" in statements like that you need to add "poorly controlled". So your real question is to do with "died of complications of poorly controlled diabetes".

 

Our main purpose here is to help each other stay out of that "poorly controlled" group.

 

Here are the scary statistics: National Diabetes Statistics, 2011, scroll down to Complications of Diabetes in the United States.

 

And here is a way I suggest to avoid being part of them: Getting Started

Cheers, Alan, Type 2, d&e metformin 2000mg, Australia.
Everything in Moderation - Except Laughter.
There is nothing I could eat I like more than my eyes.
Type 2 Diabetes - A Personal Journey(latest: Catering For Different Tastes When Cooking)
Born Under a Wandering Star (Latest: Budapest, Hungary)
Established Advisor
jptdad
Total Posts: 298
Registered on: ‎11-30-2009

Re: "Died of Complications of Diabetes" - What Does That Mean???

My dad suffered a major heart attack at the age of 36. He later developed diabetes 2 which was not controlled very well which led to neuropathy. At age 57 he passed away. The death certificate listed cause of death, heart attack with complications of diabetes mellitus. His heart was already weak from the early heart attack. The diabetes, not controlled well added to weakening of the heart, plus he had high cholesterol.

 

As others have said, uncontrolled diabetes is a major factor in an early death. It can disrupt biological systems in the body aiding in organ deterioration.

 

Keep the diabetes under control and stay healthy. It will add to a long life.

_________________________________________________
Valued Contributor
maplesyrup
Total Posts: 4,364
Registered on: ‎11-14-2009

Re: "Died of Complications of Diabetes" - What Does That Mean???

Welcome griswelda :smileyhappy: you have come to a place where a lot of us have wondered this.

 

After you have been on the board for a while you will likely learn, as so many of us have, that this is a disease over which we have a great deal of control.

 

We learn from each other how to reduce our chances of complications and we offer each other support as we go through our various struggles with our efforts to control the unpredictable roller coaster ride that sometimes occurs with diabetes.

 

On the whole I think you will find that we are successful in keeping our numbers down. (Yours, from what I have read so far, seem to be coming along quite nicely.)

 

We do have posters who started on the board with complications and many who have been here a long time with good numbers and no apparent problems.

 

For me, the most comfortable way to deal with diabetes is to do the best I can, know that I am not going to be perfect all the time, and to never allow diabetes to be a black cloud over my head. I think I can enjoy my life that way.

 

Dianne

 

 

Dianne

Diagnosed as type 2 in 2005 with an A1c of 9.1

Started with metformin and a low dose of an ARB for blood pressure. Added a sulfonylurea (a med that helps my pancreas produce my own insulin) Also a low dose of Crestor to lower my cholesterol.
After 7 years I could no longer tolerate metformin so am doing my best to keep control with a max dose of the sulfonylurea and lots of walking, some swimming.
lizzylou
Total Posts: 13,930
Topics: 565
High Fives: 1,991
Solutions: 142
Registered on: ‎10-31-2009

Re: "Died of Complications of Diabetes" - What Does That Mean???


griseldagriswol wrote:

I'm relatively newly diagnosed (09/19/11) and there is a phrase that puts chills up my spine, I'm assuming because I don't know exactly what it means.

 

Now that I know I have this dumb disease, my ears perk up whenever I read that someone who died had it.  And the one thing that I see most often is "died of complications of diabetes".  What does that mean??  If you have diabetes, when you die do they just assume it was from diabetes?  Is there a big pool of death contributing factors that get swept under the heading of complications of diabetes?  I mean, if someone who has diabetes dies of a heart attack, do they say it was a complication of diabetes without actually saying it was a heart attack?

 

I know there are lots of things we are at greater risk for because of this dumb disease but when I read that phrase it throws me into panic mode because there may be something else I should be looking out for that I don't know about.

 

I have my good days (when I behave and feel okay and don't worry too much about it) and then I have my bad days (when I spend tons of time testing, obsessing about results, counting every little morsel, just generally freaking out) and today is apparently a bad day because this is bothering me immensely.


Hi G,

 

Tell me, what would it take for you to feel better and less anxious about things?

 

Lizzy

Knowledge is Power!





Here's some useful links, click on the titles


Testing 101
 
 All About Carbs

Resources For The Un-insured and Discount Medicine and Equipment

LizzyLou Videos



Lizzy's Blog
for lots more  


Frequent Advisor
griseldagriswol
Total Posts: 159
Registered on: ‎11-16-2011

Re: "Died of Complications of Diabetes" - What Does That Mean???

I have to thank you all so very much for your responses!!!  I can't tell you how much better I feel knowing there's a place I can go with people who are going through the same thing, have been where I am now (new) and are so willing to help!

 

Each of your responses helped to ease my anxiety and the adding "poorly controlled" into the equation seemed to take a load off of my shoulders.  That is exactly how I will interpret "Died of Complications of Diabetes" from now on.

 

jptdad, I'm so sorry to hear about your dad and all you are going through. 

 

maplesyrup, thanks for the encouragement.  And you're right, I am learning quickly that you guys are supportive and seem to be doing a great job keeping your numbers under control.  That inspires me!

 

lizzylou, thank you so much for asking what can help me.  Honestly, it depends on the day.  LOL  As it appears others have found out, just when you think you've got it and know what you're doing to take hold of this, something changes or doesn't compute.  I'm feeling better than when I was first diagnosed but that's because my knowledge is increasing.  So I'm guessing the more I know the better I'll feel, as is evident by me making this post. 

 

Thanks to all that are on these boards and so willing to help us newbies - you are such a blessing!!!!

Diagnosed 09/19/11
BG at Diagnosis - 386
A1c at Diagnosis - 11.5
Now that I know all that I know, those are some scary numbers.
A1c 05/14/12 - 6.3
A1c 08/30/12 - 5.9
A1c 05/29/13 - 7.8