The risk of dying prematurely is nearly seven times more likely among people who have a combination of diabetes, heart attack or stroke, new research shows.
Experts are highlighting the importance of preventing cardiovascular disease from developing in people with diabetes. Eating more healthily and getting regular exercise are among the lifestyle changes that can reduce this risk, which can also increase your life expectancy.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge analysed data from over 1.2 million people from two prospective studies: Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration and UK BioBank. 135,000 deaths were evaluated.
Reductions in life expectancy were calculated through associations with cardiometabolic diseases combining diabetes, strokes and heart attacks. A combination of diabetes and heart attack was linked to a substantially reduced life expectancy.
Other findings noted by the researchers included that men aged 60 who had two of these cardiometabolic conditions lost an average of 12 years. This rose to 14 years lost when someone had all three conditions.
Compared to people without any of these three conditions, the risk of dying was 3.7 times higher for people with diabetes and heart disease, 3.8 times higher for those with diabetes and stroke, and 6.9 times for people with all three conditions.
The authors concluded: “Our results emphasise the importance of measures to prevent cardiovascular disease in people who already have diabetes, and, conversely, to avert diabetes in people who already have cardiovascular disease.”
Professor Jeremy Pearso, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundatio, added: “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.”

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