A 50-year-old with Type 2 diabetes will lose an average of six years of life as a result of the disease, only one year less than would be lost by a smoker of the same age, researchers reported Wednesday. He or she is more than twice as likely to die of cardiovascular disease as someone without diabetes and 25% more likely to die of cancer, according to the report, an international study of more than 820,000 people published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
People with Type 2 diabetes are also more likely to die from kidney disease, liver disease, pneumonia, infectious diseases and even intentional self-harm, according to the study, which was conducted by the Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration, based at the University of Cambridge in England.
The data are especially concerning in light of the rapidly expanding incidence of diabetes in the United States, fueled by the increase in obesity. An estimated 25.8 million Americans have diabetes, 10 million more than two decades ago.