Metabolic Health
Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Life Expectancy in Diabetes

Any condition that has the potential to affect the body, the organs, the functioning, and many parts of daily life can be a cause for concern. Diabetes is one such condition that is chronic and can create a severe threat to life at multiple stages. Each hypoglycemic episode, if not treated on time, can be potentially fatal. Moreover, each hypoglycemic episode, even if treated on time, can cause harm to the heart, kidneys, and other organs in the body leading to added stress on the working and functioning of the organs. 

This is why people with diabetes have to follow a low glycemic diet plan to ensure that even though they have no choice but to live with the condition, they can choose how they deal with the symptoms and make it less harmful for them.  Life expectancy can play a role here. 

Can Diabetes Decrease Life Expectancy?

After the diagnosis of T1D or T2D, worrying about life expectancy is natural. That is one of the major concerns that can haunt a person with diabetes as knowing what to expect in their lives and of life would be an important criterion for a fulfilled life. On occasion, having this information also works to motivate people. For example, when a person might hear the doctor say, “if this goes on for long, you may not live a very pain-free, peaceful, and long life”, the sentence can be chilling enough to knock some sense into the person to buckle up and take care of themselves.

Type 1 diabetes life expectancy is considered a little more concerning owing to the severity of the symptoms and the frequent highs and lows. The long-term repercussions of type 1 diabetes can significantly affect the individual living with it and their life span. Taking good care of all the symptoms of this condition since the beginning of the diagnosis becomes important.

Life Expectancy in Diabetes

There are many statistics and studies conducted to gauge and understand what the approximate life span of a person with diabetes could be. However, considering the plethora of complications associated with it and the variety of factors that might play a role in the symptoms, conclusive evidence, and an exact age range have not been reached yet. However, a study in the UK conducted in 2010 stated that type 2 diabetes life expectancy is likely to be reduced by about 10 years as a result of the condition. Moreover, the life expectancy of a person diagnosed with type 1 diabetes is known to be lessened by about 20 years!

The impact that this condition can have on the lives of a person is huge. Imagine knowing that you could potentially live a long life, however, that has now been cut short and is made even more difficult because you will be living every day trying to manage the symptoms of a difficult and life-threatening condition. That cannot be easy. However, with the recent medical improvements and advancements in medical and diabetes care, people can live much longer and more fulfilling lives despite having diabetes. Studies have shown the impact of access to good medical care and how it might play a role in not only boosting morale but also the life span.

Book a Free Session

Life Expectancy in Type 1 Diabetes

Understanding type 1 diabetes life expectancy may not be as straightforward. There have been several studies that are focussed on this area of research and are providing data based on different samples. Several medical journals have attempted to understand the impact of type 1 diabetes on different sectors of the population like – males, females, the older population, adolescents, etc. Issues in the management of the condition are the leading cause of early death even among people under the age of 50 years. Diabetic coma, DKA, fatally low blood sugars, all of those are much higher in a person diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and therefore, the threat to the lifespan is increased. The stress of maintaining a low glycemic diet plan is also higher in people with type 1 diabetes.

A large national registry was used to analyze the data regarding the life expectancy information in type 1 diabetes, they found that men with T1D, on average, had a life expectancy of around 66 years as opposed to men without diabetes who would live for around 77 years. Similarly, in women with T1D, the average life span was approximately 68 years as compared to 81 years for those living without diabetes. This prompts the severity in which diabetes can affect the lifespan.

Life Expectancy in Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is deemed to be much more manageable than T1D, however, this still does not reduce the risks associated with the condition. Essentially, with good management of the symptoms of diabetes and mitigating the risk of possible complications, the type 2 diabetes life expectancy need not be compromised greatly. This may not be an easy task as there would be several variables that have to be taken care of in the optimal management of blood sugar levels. Studies conducted, found that the average drop in the lifespan of a male with T2D would be approximately 10 years and in a female around 8-9 years.

These statistics were also highly dependent on the age of the person at the time of the study. In Type 2 diabetes, the risk of mismanagement of symptoms and death is higher in the older population as compared to the slightly younger one. Other factors like smoking cigarettes regularly or indulging in alcohol frequently can also play a role in shortening the overall life expectancy of a person with type 2 diabetes.

What Causes a Shorter Life Expectancy?

One can take a look at the type 2 diabetes life expectancy calculator to determine and gain an estimate of how long they would be able to live a happy and fulfilled life. To understand this, they may have to take a look at all the risk factors and potential problems that they might face that may lead to a reduction in their healthcare, thus reducing their lifespan. 

Here are a few risk factors that one would have to keep a watch for:

  • Weight – Being overweight or obese or having excess fat in the abdomen 
  • Diet – Poor diet control with high-carb food and high sugar content. Even a diet with low fiber, protein, etc can create issues
  • Addictions – Smoking, drinking, or drug use 
  • Exercise – Low levels of exercise, leading a sedentary lifestyle, no physical activity, etc 
  • Sleep – Not having a proper sleep-wake cycle and not feeling rested upon waking up 
  • Stress – Poor techniques of stress management 
  • Medical care – Not having access to the right equipment and medical care 
  • History – Genetic factors and having a history of issues in the family or oneself 

5 Tips to Improve Life Expectancy

To improve type 1 diabetes lifespan and even for T2D, there are a few tips to follow:

  1. Eating healthy – The key to managing blood sugars and leading a healthy life would be eating mindfully. Make sure that your diet has an ample amount of fiber and protein. Along with these, vitamin and mineral-rich foods would also be beneficial. Avoid food with a high amount of carbs, starch, maida, sugar, etc
  2. Monitor and control sugar – Track your daily sugar levels diligently before and after meals to keep a lookout for any spikes or increase in the levels. Adjust your basal and bolus accordingly. You can also use a CGM device to help you with it.
  3. Exercise – In your diabetes treatment plan, add exercise and workouts. This would help in two ways – it will help to use the excess blood sugars and will also help you lose weight.
  4. Reduce Stress – High levels of stress are linked to high blood sugar levels. Choose optimal stress management techniques by taking care of your mental health – go to therapy, practice yoga for diabetes, meditation, etc.
  5. Educate – Living with diabetes is not easy. Education and apt knowledge about the nuances of the condition will help you manage the symptoms better. Understand how it works and research the new technological advancements.

Bottomline

Your life expectancy need not be reduced even if you are living with diabetes. The healthcare facilities, information, and trained medical professionals are all here to help you manage the condition to the best of your ability. Make sure to take good care of the symptoms that you are experiencing and prevent any complications. Use a preventative approach and incorporate the diabetes care plan into your daily routine diligently.

FAQs

1. Does diabetes shorten life expectancy?

Yes, diabetes is known to shorten life expectancy however, these days, this threat is not as potent. Medicines and medical care has made management easier and does not have to shorten life expectancy by a lot. 

2. Does diabetes worsen with age?

Diabetes does not have to worsen with age, however, because age can lead to a compromise in the working of the different organs and lessen their functioning, it can create some amount of damage. Diabetes is known to get difficult to manage with age.

3. Can you live a long life with diabetes?

Yes, living a long life with diabetes is possible as long as you are managing your blood sugars and keeping them in the optimal range. 

References

  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317477#What-increases-the-risk?

Was this post helpful?

+91 -
Book Free Consultation