Death rates for people with diabetes dropped dramatically from 1997 to 2006, according to US health officials.

Among diabetic Americans, deaths from all causes declined by 23 percent during that decade.

Meanwhile, deaths linked to heart disease and stroke plummeted by 40 percent for people with diabetes, said researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Scientists pointed to improved medical treatment for heart disease, lifestyle changes, and better management of diabetes as contributing factors in the death rate decline.

But the report noted that diabetic adults are still more likely to die younger than those who do not have the disease.

"Taking care of your heart through healthy lifestyle choices is making a difference, but Americans continue to die from a disease that can be prevented," said Ann Albright, director of CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation.

"Although the cardiovascular disease death rate for people with diabetes has dropped, it is still twice as high as for adults without diabetes."

The CDC -- which estimates that 25.8 million Americans have diabetes -- also warned the number of people with the disease will continue to climb, as the rate of new cases increases.

The number of Americans diagnosed with diabetes more than tripled in the past three decades, the CDC said, primarily blaming type 2 diabetes, which is closely linked to a surge in obesity and inactivity.

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