Risk of Unnatural Death Is Higher in Diabetes Patients

(HealthDay News) — Unnatural deaths occur more frequently among individuals with diabetes, according to research published online May 21 in Diabetes Care.

Roger T. Webb, PhD, 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 vs. 32.1 deaths per 10,000; relative risk [RR], 2.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.1–2.4). Among individuals with diabetes, increased risk of death was observed for suicide (RR, 3.4; 95% CI, 3.0 to 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). In the diabetes cohort, 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,” 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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