U.S. Diabetes Death Statistics

Diabetes Deaths Mortality
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Diabetes is caused by an inability to produce enough insulin or use insulin effectively within the body. Insulin allows blood sugar (glucose) to enter cells where it can be used for energy. When the body lacks insulin or is unable to effectively use it, blood sugar rises and can have serious health consequences. High blood sugar can lead to heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and other complications.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, and accounts for about 5 to 10 percent of all diabetes cases. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin throughout their lives to survive. Type 2 diabetes, also called adult-onset diabetes, accounts for roughly 90 to 95% of all cases. Unlike with type 1, there are a variety of measures that can help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. They include such lifestyle changes as exercising and maintaining a healthy diet.

Tracking mortality data for diabetes comes with caveats. The statistics shown here—"Diabetes as Contributing Cause of Death"—are based on the CDC's Multiple Cause of Death (MCD) data, where diabetes was present in the deceased but not necessarily listed as the underlying cause of death (UCD). Because diabetes increases the risk of other deadly maladies—for example, cardiovascular disease—using MCD statistics can help give a fuller picture of the disease's impact.

How do diabetes deaths vary by state?

In 2017, Oklahoma had the highest age-adjusted death rate from diabetes, at 133.9 deaths per 100,000 people. Connecticut had the lowest, with 43.7 deaths per 100,000 people. 

Note: Hover to a state to see its statistics. Use the time slider to view data for different years. 

Demographic Differences in Diabetes Deaths

By Sex

Nationally, men are more likely to have diabetes as a contributing cause of death than women. According to CDC data, in 2017, roughly 87 men per 100,000 died from diabetes-related health issues; for women, the rate was about 55 deaths per 100,000.

Nationally, since 1999, women have seen an overall decrease in deaths with diabetes as a contributing factor, while deaths for men have remained about the same. In 1999, 67.9 women per 100,000 died with complications resulting from diabetes, while for men the rate was 89.2. The decrease could be related to a complex set of factors, including differences in behavioral risk factors, access to or taking advantage of medical care, and biological differences. 

By Race

Diabetes affects certain groups of people at different rates. Nationally, African Americans and Native Americans had the highest rate of diabetes-related mortality in 2017, while Asians/Pacific Islanders have the lowest.

As with most diseases, many factors can contribute to the risk of contracting diabetes, and disparities in diabetes-related mortality are also related to a complex set of factors. For example, members of minority groups are more likely to be poor. People in poverty often lack access to healthy foods which can make it difficult to manage diabetes. 

By Age

As a chronic disease, diabetes affects the elderly disproportionately. For younger Americans, deaths from diabetes-related complications are rare, but do constitute a risk. People with diabetes are also living longer, pushing the mortality data further into older age groups.

More Information

• "National Chronic Kidney Disease Fact Sheet.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017.

• “Living with Diabetes.” American Diabetes Association.

 “National Diabetes Statistics Report (pdf).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017. 

Source: University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

About the Data

Mortality data in this story was queried from the CDC Wonder API, based on the following parameters:

• MCD code: [E10-E14].

The charts in this story show the CDC's age-adjusted rate, rather than crude rate, to account for variations in age-distribution and population size.