Women with type 2 diabetes have 60% increased chance of early death – research

·3-min read
There are more than 4.9 million people with diabetes in the UK, 90% of whom have type 2 diabetes (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)
There are more than 4.9 million people with diabetes in the UK, 90% of whom have type 2 diabetes (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)

Women in the UK with type 2 diabetes have a 60% increased risk of an early death and will live five years less than the average woman in the general population, early research suggests.

Scientists have also found that men with the disease have a 44% increased risk of dying prematurely and live 4.5 years less.

Results also suggest that smoking shortens the life expectancy of people with type 2 diabetes by 10 years, while diagnosis at a younger age cuts life expectancy by over eight years.

The findings, presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Stockholm, Sweden, are based on a cohort of nearly 12,000 patients at the Salford Royal Hospital in Salford.

Dr Adrian Heald, of Salford Royal Hospital, said: “Our modelling suggests that type 2 diabetes has a greater effect on the life expectancy of women, smokers and those diagnosed at a younger age.

“A woman with type 2 diabetes, for example, might live five years less than the average woman in the general population, while someone diagnosed at a younger age might lose eight years of life expectancy.

It is vital that the groups at the highest risk are made aware of not just the increased risk that they face but also the size of the risk

Dr Adrian Heald

“It is vital that the groups at the highest risk are made aware of not just the increased risk that they face but also the size of the 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.”

The researchers calculated the life expectancy of 11,806 type 2 diabetes patients at Salford Royal Hospital over a 10-year period (2010-2020) and compared this to life expectancy figures for the general population of the same age and sex.

The team also took into account the lifestyle and demographic factors that may affect the life expectancy of individuals with type 2 diabetes.

The scientists found that the risk of an early death was 84% higher in people with diabetes than in the general population.

Results indicated a woman with type 2 diabetes was 60% more likely to die early than someone in the general population, while a man with the disease was 44% more likely to die prematurely.

Type 2 diabetes was shown to have a greater effect on the life expectancy of people diagnosed at a younger age, with those below 65 showing a 93% higher risk of an early death – losing eight years of life expectancy.

The modelling also found that people with type 2 diabetes who smoked were 2.5 times more likely to die prematurely than people in the general population, shortening their lifespan by 10 years.

There are more than 4.9 million people with diabetes in the UK, 90% of whom have type 2 diabetes.

Figures from Diabetes UK also indicates around 13.6 million people are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Commenting on the research, Dr Lucy Chambers, head of research communications at Diabetes UK, said that the findings “highlight that the impact of type 2 diabetes is not the same for everyone”.

She said: “Research like this is crucial in understanding more about which groups of people with type 2 diabetes could benefit from tailored care to reduce their heightened risk of complications, and could in future help to close unacceptable gaps in health and life expectancy.

“While research like this can be alarming, it’s important to remember that with the right support, many cases of type 2 diabetes and its complications can be prevented or delayed, and that many people with the condition can live long and healthy lives.”