WOMEN are more likely to die from a common disease than men, experts have warned.
One in ten people over the age of 40 in the UK are living with type 2 diabetes.Experts have warned that women who have type 2 diabetes have a shorter life expectancy than men[/caption]
It’s a common condition that causes the level of sugar in the blood to become too high.
Those who have it will likely experience symptoms such as excessive thirst, needing to pee a lot and tiredness.
Now scientists have warned that women with the illness have a 60 per cent increased risk of early death.
They will also live five years less than the average woman in the population, medics presenting at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Stockholm, Sweden said.
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The study was based on 12,000 patients at the Salford Royal Hospital in Salford, Manchester.
Researchers also found that men with the disease have a 44 per cent increased risk of dying prematurely and live 4.5 years less.
For people with the condition who smoke, the experts said this also shortened their life expectancy by ten years.
Dr Adrian Heald, of Salford Royal Hospital said their research shows that the illness also has a bigger impact on those diagnosed at an earlier age.
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For example, he explained that a woman with type 2 diabetes might lose eight years of life expectancy.
He added: “It is vital that the groups at the highest risk are made aware of not just the increased risk that they face but also the size of the risk.
“Doing so may make the health advice they are given seem more relevant and so help them make changes that can improve their quality – and length – of life.”
As part of their research, the team looked at 11,806 type 2 diabetes patients at Salford Royal Hospital over a 10-year period (2010-2020).
What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?
All types of diabetes cause blood glucose levels to be higher than normal, but the two different types do this in different ways.
The distinction lies in what is causing the lack of insulin – often described as the key, that allows glucose to unlock the door to the cells.
With type 1 diabetes, a person’s pancreas produces no insulin, but in type 2 cells in the body become resistant to insulin, so a greater amount of insulin is needed to keep blood glucose levels within a normal range.
However, doctors now think diabetes could be as many as five different diseases – and say that treatment should be tailored for the different forms.
They compared life expectancy figures to the general population and also took into account lifestyle factors.
From these calculations, they found that the risk of early death was 84 per cent higher in type 2 diabetics.
The condition was shown to have a greater effect on the life expectancy of people diagnosed at a younger age, with those below 65 showing a 93 per cent higher risk of an early death – losing eight years of life expectancy.
Figures from Diabetes UK state that around 13.6 million people are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
This is while 90 per cent of the 4.9million of those with the illness have type 2.
Dr Lucy Chambers, Head of Research Communications at Diabetes UK, said the research is a stark reminder of the seriousness of the illnesss.
The medic said the paper lays bare the devastating impact it can have on life expectancy.
She added: “Importantly, the findings highlight that the impact of type 2 diabetes is not the same for everyone, suggesting that women, people who smoke, those diagnosed under 65 years, and people living in deprived areas have a lower life expectancy than others with the condition.
“Research like this is crucial in understanding more about which groups of people with type 2 diabetes could benefit from tailored care to reduce their heightened risk of complications, and could in future help to close unacceptable gaps in health and life expectancy.
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“While research like this can be alarming, it’s important to remember that with the right support, many cases of type 2 diabetes and its complications can be prevented or delayed, and that many people with the condition can live long and healthy lives.
“If you’re living with type 2 diabetes and would like to talk through any worries or concerns about the complications of the condition, you can contact Diabetes UK’s Helpline on 0345 123 2399.”