Dr Amir says big toe can reveal diabetes and heart disease
The University of Cambridge released new research revealing how many years a type 2 diabetes diagnosis shortens your life by, depending on when you got diagnosed.
If diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at the age of 30, for example, the study says a person’s life expectancy falls by as much as 14 years.
The international team of researchers found that a diagnosis at 50 could even see a person’s life expectancy drop by six years.
Professor Emanuele Di Angelantonio said: “Type 2 diabetes used to be seen as a disease that affected older adults, but we’re increasingly seeing people diagnosed earlier in life.
“As we’ve shown, this means they are at risk of a much shorter life expectancy than they would otherwise have.”
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Dr Stephen Kaptoge said: “Given the impact type 2 diabetes will have on people’s lives, preventing – or at least delaying the onset – of the condition should be an urgent priority.”
Increasing levels of obesity, poor diet and a lack of exercise are fuelling the spike in the number of cases of type 2 diabetes.
Having type 2 diabetes also puts a person at increased risk of further disease, such as:
- Heart attack
- Kidney issues
How did the researchers draw these conclusions?
Such conclusions follow an analysis of data from 19 high-income countries, involving 1.5 million people.
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Overall, every decade of earlier diagnosis of diabetes was associated with about four years of reduced life expectancy.
The research team estimated that if you are:
- diagnosed at 30 – your life expectancy is cut by 14 years
- diagnosed at 40 – your life expectancy is cut by 10 years
- diagnosed at 50 – your life expectancy is cut by six years.
These estimates were slightly higher in women than they were in men.
Dr Kaptoge said: “Type 2 diabetes can be prevented if those at greatest risk can be identified and offered support.”
Supportive treatments recommended included behavioural changes and medication.
Dr Kaptoge added: “There are also structural changes that we, as a society, should be pursuing.”
Examples relate to food manufacturing and changes to the built environment to encourage more physical activity.
The findings were published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
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