Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is already a major health concern, but new research reveals that it impacts women, younger people, and smokers even more severely.
Conducted in the UK, the study provides insights that could help tailor healthcare strategies to those who are most at risk.
The Research: Who’s at Greater Risk and Why It Matters
With as many as 3.5 million people diagnosed with T2D in the UK, it’s important to understand how it affects different groups of people.
The research team, led by Mike Stedman from Res Consortium and Dr. Adrian Heald from Salford Royal Hospital, worked on finding out just that.
Their study took a detailed look at the health records of nearly 12,000 people in Salford, UK, and compared their life expectancy to the general population.
During the 10 years they studied, almost 4,000 of these patients died, which was significantly higher than what was expected.
The Gender Gap: Women Are More Affected
Most people assume that men are more at risk when it comes to health conditions like diabetes. But this study throws a curveball.
According to the research, women with T2D have a 60% higher chance of dying early and can expect to live five years less than women without diabetes.
For men, the risk is still there but slightly lower—they have a 44% higher chance of dying early and could lose 4.5 years of life expectancy.
Smoking and Age: The Other Big Factors
Smoking and age also play a significant role. Smokers with T2D have a 2.5 times higher risk of dying prematurely than non-smokers.
The bad news? If you have T2D and you smoke, you could lose 10 years of your life. Even if you were a smoker and quit, you’d still lose three years compared to non-smokers.
As for age, being diagnosed with T2D before 65 makes a big difference. If you’re diagnosed young, your risk of dying early shoots up by 93%, and you could lose more than eight years of your life.
What This Means: Tailored Health Advice Can Save Lives
According to Dr. Heald, the people who are most at risk need to know not just that they are at risk, but also how big that risk is.
Knowing the numbers can make health advice more relatable and may encourage people to make lifestyle changes.
The study also adjusts for levels of income and other social factors, and the findings still hold true.
This shows that it’s not just about how wealthy or poor a community is; diabetes is a severe risk for specific groups of people, regardless of their financial standing.
In a nutshell, type 2 diabetes isn’t an equal-opportunity life-shortener. It takes a heavier toll on women, those who are diagnosed at a younger age, and smokers.
With these insights, healthcare providers can better target their interventions, and patients can make informed decisions to improve both the quality and length of their lives.
If you care about diabetes, please read studies about a major breakthrough in diabetes treatment, and this drug for inflammation may increase your diabetes risk within days.
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