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Adults with diabetes in China lose nine years off life expectancy, researchers say

A new study shows that middle-aged people in China with diabetes lose an average of nine years off their life expectancy.
Those living in urban areas were twice as likely to have diabetes compared to people living in the countryside, but lost an average of eight years compared to those in the country, who lost 10 years.
The University of Oxford, which led the study, believes these findings could be attributable to poor diabetes control in China, which was significantly worse compared to high-income countries.
The researchers said: “As the prevalence of diabetes in young adults increases and the adult population grows, the annual number of deaths related to diabetes is likely to continue to increase, unless there is substantial improvement in prevention and management.”
The study involved an analysis of information from over 512,000 people aged 30-79 years from five rural and five urban areas in different parts of China. Participants were recruited between 2004 and 2008 and followed up until 2014.
Around four per cent of those in the countryside had diabetes, which rose to eight per cent among city-dwellers. Those with diabetes were twice as likely to die during the study period.
Lead author Dr Zhengming Chen said: “Among adults in China, diabetes was associated with increased mortality from a range of cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular diseases, and the risk of dying was greater among those with diabetes who inadequately treated the condition.
“Although diabetes was more common in urban areas, it was associated with greater excess mortality.”
Chen and colleagues estimated that someone diagnosed with diabetes aged 50 had a 69 per cent chance of dying within the next 25 years. This compared to 38 per cent for people who didn’t have diabetes.
People with diabetes have traditionally had shorter life expectancies, but technological advances are helping those with diabetes live longer and living a healthy lifestyle, including eating well and getting regular exercise, can help delay or even prevent the onset of diabetes-related complications.
The findings were published in the online journal JAMA.

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