Diabetes can shorten lifespan by nine years in Chinese patients

According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), patients in China who were diagnosed with diabetes in middle age eventually lost an average nine years of life.
WebMD Diabetes

Diabetes epidemic in China

The rise of diabetes in China had already been well documented, with prevalence of the condition quadrupling over the past several decades and an estimated 100 million adults now affected (more than in any other country in the world). However until the new study, jointly conducted by researchers from the University of Oxford and Peking University, but ultimate effects on patient mortality were unknown.

Diabetes treatment

The new study found that inadequate treatment, particularly in rural areas, was primarily to blame for the nine-year loss of life average. The risk of mortality from inadequately treated acute complications of diabetes (e.g., diabetic coma) was higher in rural areas than in urban areas. However even in urban areas of China the risk of mortality was much higher than in Western populations.

The study showed that diabetes raised the risk of mortality from a wide range of conditions, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, liver disease, infection, and cancers of the liver, pancreas and breast.

The researchers estimated that the 25-year probability of death would be 69 percent among Chinese patients diagnosed with diabetes at age 50 compared with 38 percent among otherwise similar individuals without diabetes, corresponding to a loss of about nine years of life (10 years in rural areas and eight years in urban areas).

Causes of Diabetes

Causes of Type 1 Diabetes

In type 1 diabetes, the body no longer makes insulin because the body’s own immune system has attacked and destroyed the cells where insulin is made. The cause of this isn’t entirely clear but it may include genetic risk factors and environmental factors. One theory is that type 1 diabetes may occur after having a specific virus.

People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day to live. There is no known way to prevent or cure type 1 diabetes, but it can be controlled by keeping blood glucose (sugar) levels within a normal range.

Causes of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. The risk of having type 2 diabetes increases as a person gets older.

The cause of type 2 diabetes is largely unknown, but genetics and lifestyle clearly play roles. Type 2 diabetes has been linked to obesity, genetic risk factors, and inactivity. Some racial and ethnic groups are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes. These include American Indians, African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

There is no known way to cure type 2 diabetes, but it can be controlled by keeping the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood within a normal range.

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