Diabetes raises risk for early death

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Adults with type 2 diabetes who did not have a known vascular disease died an average of six years earlier than those who did not have diabetes, recent study results revealed.

“About 40% of the years of life lost from diabetes can be attributed to nonvascular conditions, including about 10% attributable to death from cancer,” researchers from the Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine.

They analyzed data from 820,900 people who participated in 97 prospective studies to determine whether type 2 diabetes or hyperglycemia was associated with risk for death from nonvascular conditions.  A total of 123,205 deaths occurred with a median time to death of 13.6 years.

The researchers found that overall death rates were higher among participants with diabetes than those without — 29 vs. 12 per 1,000 person years in men and 23 vs. 7 per 1,000 person years in women (HR=1.80 for death from any cause, 95% CI: 1.71-1.90).

After adjusting for factors including age, sex, smoking status and BMI, cause-specific death rates for several other conditions were also higher among patients with diabetes compared to those without:

  • Cancer deaths — 7 vs. 4 per 1,000 person years in men and 4 vs. 3 per 1,000 person years in women (HR=1.25, 95%CI: 1.19-1.31)
  • Vascular deaths —13 vs. 5 per 1,000 person years in men and 11 vs. 2 per 1,000 person years in women (HR2.32, 95% CI:2.11-2.56)
  • Nonvascular deaths not attributable to cancer — 6 vs. 3 per 1,000 person years in men and 6 vs. 2 per 1,000 person years in women (HR=1.73, 95% CI: 1.62-1.85).

“Our findings broaden and intensify the need for efforts to prevent and understand diabetes and encourage detailed study of a broader range of disease outcomes than has been customary in randomized trails of diabetes prevention and treatment,” the researchers wrote.

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