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Diabetes May Slash 9 Years Off Life, A New Study Says

Update Date: Jan 19, 2017 07:09 PM EST

Adults in China who have diabetes may lose 9 years off their life expectancy, a new study suggests.

Published in the journal JAMA, the new study on Chinese people found that those diagnosed with diabetes before 50 years old, lived an average of nine years less than those without the condition. Moreover, the slashed off years increased to 10 years for patients living in rural areas.

Previous researches on diabetes have been in high-income countries were people with diabetes are well-managed. However, in China, the rate of people with the condition quadrupled in recent years, with an estimated 100 million adults now affected, Medical Xpress reports.

Because of this marked increase, a team of researchers at the University of Oxford and Peking University set out to examine the link between diabetes and mortality in China. The study included 512,869 people ages 30 years old to 79 years old, from 10 areas in the country between 2004 and 2008. The researchers followed up for cause-specific mortality until 2014.

Diabetes And Longevity

Type 2 diabetes, the type linked to being overweight, is known to double the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Long-term complications of diabetes include cataracts in the eyes, kidney disease like diabetic nephropathy and nerve damage.

Type 2 diabetes can also affect the large blood vessels, causing plaque to eventually build up and potentially leading to stroke, vessel blockage in the legs called peripheral vascular disease and heart attack, Endocrine Web reports.

The new research, however, provides the most concrete figures to date, demonstrating that those diagnosed with diabetes by 50 have a doubled risk of dying before they reach 75 years old.

"Among adults in China, diabetes was associated with increased mortality from a range of cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular diseases, and the risk of dying was greater among those with diabetes who inadequately treated the condition," Dr. Zhengming Chen, lead author of the study, said as reported by

"Although diabetes was more common in urban areas, it was associated with greater excess mortality," he added.

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