Joel Callen

News

Mon, 13 Jul, 2015

Heart disease plus diabetes can knock more than 10 years off your life

Heart disease plus diabetes can knock more than 10 years off your life

Having both heart disease and diabetes can reduce your life expectancy by more than 10 years, according to a new study.

Researchers at Cambridge University analysed over 135,000 deaths among a group of more than a million people participating in the study.

They determined that life expectancy is reduced if there is a history of cardiometabolic diseases combining diabetes, strokes and heart attacks.

Lead researcher, Dr Emanuele Di Angelantonio, said: “We showed that having a combination of diabetes and heart disease is associated with a substantially lower life expectancy.

“An individual in their 60s who has both conditions has an average reduction in life expectancy of about 15 years.”

On average a 60-year-old with either two of the cardiometabolic conditions in the study had a reduced life span of 12 years for men and 13 years for women. For those with all three conditions the lifespan was reduced by 14 years for men and 16 years for women.

When the researchers looked at participants who had the conditions at a younger age, the effects were more dramatic. A person aged 40 with all three conditions could expect to have their life cut short by 23 years for men, and 20 years for women.

The British Heart Foundation part-funded the research with Cambridge University.

Professor Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “The results of this large study emphasise the importance of preventing diabetes, heart attacks and strokes in the first place, through encouraging patients to live a healthier lifestyle and, where necessary, treating them with medication.

“Once someone has developed diabetes, or suffered a stroke or heart attack, it is even more essential to address all their risk factors, such as their diet and the amount of physical activity they do, to lower their risk of a subsequent heart attack or stroke and give them the best chance of a longer life.

“Everyone should be aware of their risk of developing any of these conditions, and how they can reduce it. If you wait until you have developed one of these conditions before thinking about your wider health, you will already have reduced your life expectancy.”

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