During that time, deaths from all causes for Americans with diabetes fell by 23 percent and deaths caused by heart disease and stroke in this group declined by 40 percent, according to the analysis of 1997-2004 National Health Interview Survey data on nearly 250,000 adults.
One expert said the findings were reason for hope.
"The encouraging news that less diabetic patients are dying from heart disease and stroke is a testament to multiple factors that have changed the playing field," said Dr. Tara Narula, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
The study was conducted by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. National Institutes of Health. They stressed that despite improvements in care, adults with diabetes are still more likely to die at a younger age than those without the disease. Nevertheless, the gap is narrowing, they said.