Diabetics face heightened risk of premature death

Despite the widespread belief that type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes can be cared for relatively easily, individuals with the disease still die much earlier than healthy people, according to a new study from University of Miami researchers.

The team reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that individuals who have diabetes are 80 percent more likely to die at a young age. The causes of death were mixed and included cancer, heart disease, infection, liver disease, kidney disease and suicide.

For the study, researchers examined data from 97 previous investigations involving 820,900 participants. More than 123,000 of these participants died during the study. The results showed that individuals with diabetes were much more likely to die from any cause.

Diabetics were 25 percent more likely to die from cancer, 70 percent more likely to die from falls, 64 percent more likely to die from mental disorders and 58 percent more likely to die from suicide.

Blood sugar levels were closely associated with death risk. Individuals who had fasting levels above 100 mg per deciliter were much more likely to die at a younger age. On average, a 50-year-old with diabetes died six years earlier than a person of the same age and similar lifestyle habits who did not have diabetes.

"This study confirms that diabetes is associated with higher mortality," Dr. Camillo Ricordi, one of the researchers, told HealthDay News. "There is a general attitude that diabetes is a treatable disease, that it's no big deal, that you just take medicine and you have a normal life. Instead, you have a 2.5 increased rate of death."

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among diabetics, but Ricordi said that this study should shine a light on the other health risks that individuals with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes face.
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