Research shows impact of diabetes and heart disease combo on life expectancy

by Barbara Hewitt on July 8, 2015

Life expectancy for people with diabetes and heart disease is substantially lower than for those without either or even with just one of the conditions, new scientific research has confirmed.

And the younger you are when both conditions are present, the more impact they are likely to have in terms of life expectancy, the study from the University of Cambridge in the UK has found.


Life expectancy for those with diabetes and heart disease is much lower than for those without the diseases

The research team’s analysis of more than 135,000 deaths out of a population cohort of 1.2 million produced estimates of reductions in life expectancy associated with a history of different combinations of diabetes, stroke, and/or myocardial infarction heart attack, all so-called cardio metabolic diseases.

The researchers estimated that at the age of 60 years, men with any two of the cardio metabolic conditions studied would have, on average, 12 years of reduced life expectancy, and men with all three conditions would have 14 years of reduced life expectancy. For women at the age of 60 years, the corresponding estimates were 13 years and 16 years of reduced life expectancy.

The figures were even more dramatic for younger people. At the age of 40 years, men with all three cardio metabolic conditions would, on average, have 23 years of reduced life expectancy; for women at the same age, the corresponding estimate was 20 years.

‘We showed that having a combination of diabetes and heart disease is associated with a substantially lower life expectancy. An individual in their sixties who has both conditions has an average reduction in life expectancy of about 15 years,’ said Dr. Emanuele Di Angelantonio from the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Cambridge.

The results highlight the importance of preventing heart disease and stroke amongst patients with diabetes, and likewise averting diabetes amongst heart disease patients, according to Professor John Danesh, head of the department and a British Heart Foundation Professor.

‘Although patients with more than one condition constitute only a small proportion of the population at large, in real terms the numbers are not insignificant. Measures aimed at reducing diabetes and heart disease amongst this group could have a dramatic impact on their lives. However, at the same time, we must not lose sight of tackling these serious conditions within the wider population,’ he said.

Overall the team analysed data from the Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration (ERFC) from almost 700,000 participants recruited between 1960 and 2007, taken from a total of 91 prospective cohorts that have recorded mortality during prolonged follow-up. They compared the results with those from the UK Biobank, a prospective cohort of just under 500,000 participants recruited between 2006 and 2010.

Previous studies have estimated that around 10 million adults in the United States and the European Union are living with more than one cardio metabolic illness. In this new study, the researchers found that around one person in a 100 from the cohorts they analysed had two or more conditions.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Barry White July 9, 2015 at 6:06 am

I had a quadruple bypass at age 65, prostate cancer three years ago, high blood pressure for the last 30 years, Insulin Dependent type ll diabetes for the last 25 years a Colonoscopy last week which was all clear except for 3 haemorrhoids I have trouble walking because all the discs in my back are compressed and a couple of bulging discs in my lower back have not had a cold for four years the flu for forty five years and I am now 77 apart from all that I consider myself healthy, how do you think I’m doing. How long will my life be shortened.


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