Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes takes greatest toll on life expectancy of women, younger people and smokers, analysis of UK data finds

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The European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) presented new research at its annual meeting in Stockholm, Sweden (19-23 sept). It found that type 2 Diabetes (T2D), which is more common in women, younger people, and smokers, has a greater effect on the life expectancy and mortality rates.

T2D affects 60% of women and gives them a chance of dying before their due date. They also live five years longer than the average woman. Men with T2D have a 44% higher risk of dying early and live 4.5 more years, according to Mike Stedman, of Res Consortium. This modeling was done by Mike Stedman, a healthcare consultancy based in Andover, UK, as well as Dr. Adrian Heald, from Salford Royal Hospital, Salford (UK) and other colleagues.

Smoking reduces the life expectancy for people with T2D by ten year, while being diagnosed earlier (before the age 65) reduces life expectancy by more than eight years.

T2D has been identified in as many people as 3.5million in the UK. This is the most common form. It is more common in older and middle-aged people, but it is increasingly common in younger people.

The risk of premature death in England for people with diabetes is 50 to 70% higher than those without it (known as the age-standardized mortal ratio or SMR).

It is unknown how lifestyle and demographic factors may impact the size of this risk.

Researchers calculated the life expectancy for T2D patients in Salford (UK) (1,806 participants, 55% men, average age 66.2), over a ten year period. They then compared this with the life expectancy figures of the general population of the same sex.

They also looked at the effects of lifestyle and demographic factors upon mortality rates and life expectancy in individuals with T2D.

The data included participants’ health records between 2010 and 2020 (stopping just before the COVID-19 Pandemic), Office for National Statistics information regarding life expectancy of the general populace, and information from Index of Multiple Deprivation.

The total number of participants who died (of which 3,921 were men) over the ten-year period was 3,921, compared to the expected 2,135. This gave rise to a standardized death ratio (SMR), of 1.84. This means that the risk of early death in diabetes patients was 84% higher than in the general population.

Women with T2D had a higher risk of dying young than men (96% vs. 74%).

Researchers were surprised by this surprise because T2D is usually assumed to have a greater impact on men’s health that on women’s.

Even after the results were adjusted for deprivation (Salford was one of the most disadvantaged parts of England), people with T2D still had a higher risk of dying young.

Adjusting for deprivation showed that a woman with T2D was 60% less likely to die early than a person in the general population. A man with T2D, on the other hand, was 44% more likely die prematurely.

The results also show that T2D has an even greater effect on the life expectancy for those diagnosed at younger ages. The risk of early death for those under 65 years had a 93% increase and they lived an average of eight years longer than the general population. The loss of life for those 65 and over was less than 2 years.

Smoking was the leading cause of death and shortened life expectancy in people with T2D. The modeling revealed that people with T2D who smoked were 2.5-times more likely to die young than those in the general populace.

Smokers with T2D lived ten times longer than the general population. Ex-smokers and non-smokers with this condition lost three years of their life expectancy.

The modeling showed that a female smoker diagnosed before 65 years old was 3.75 times more likely than a male smoker to die prematurely and live 15 years less than a woman of the same age.

Dr. Heald states, “Our modeling suggests type 2 diabetes has an even greater impact on the life expectancy for women, smokers, and those diagnosed earlier.”

“A woman diagnosed with type 2 diabetes may live five years less than an average woman in the general population. A person diagnosed at a younger ages might lose eight year of life expectancy.

“It is important that people at greatest risk are made aware of both the increased risk they face and the size of that risk. Doing so may make the health advice they are given seem more relevant and so help them make changes that can improve their quality—and length—of life.”


Smoking and inactivity can lead to early death for people with type II diabetes and certain types of cancers.


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Analysis of UK data reveals that Type 2 Diabetes has the greatest impact on life expectancy for women, younger people, and smokers.
Retrieved 20 September 2022
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