An analysis of the effects of diabetes and generalized atherosclerosis on death due to ischemic heart disease or stroke was conducted using multiple cause mortality statistics. Specifically, all U.S. deaths in 1969 were classified into two groups on the basis of whether diabetes or generalized atherosclerosis was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate. Then race and sex specific analyses were made of ischemic heart disease deaths (or alternately of stroke deaths) using modified life table techniques for each group (one with the specified chronic disease and one without). Comparisons were made of mortality due to the acute circulatory events (ischemic heart disease or stroke) in the two groups to determine the implications of the chronic disease for the progression of the circulatory disease events. It was found, according to expectations, that diabetes and generalized atherosclerosis play very different roles in deaths due to stroke and ischemic heart disease.

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