People with diabetes worked an average of two years longer than those who did not have diabetes according to a research study of Finnish adults.
A total of 12,726 people, born between 1934 and 1944 and part of the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study, were monitored to see how health impacted their working life. Finnish researchers reviewed the records between 1971 and 2011 to see how many people had developed diabetes and who had retired.
Within women, 49% of those with diabetes transitioned into old-age pensio, rather than retiring early. This was a higher figure than the 40% of those without diabetes. Likewise, in men, 41% with diabetes transitioned into old-age pension compared with 33% of those without diabetes.
In terms of the average retirement age, average retirement age was over two years later in those with diabetes. Within women the average retirement age was 61.4 years-old or those with diabetes and 59.5 years-old for those without the condition. In men, average retirement was at 60.1 years-old in those with diabetes and 57.6 in those without.
Mikaela von Bonsdorff from the University of Jyväskylä, lead author of the study, noted that the effect of diabetes on work careers has not been so thoroughly reviewed as previous studies involved shorter periods of follow-up.
She stated: “In our study, 7.5 per cent of the men and 4.3 per cent of the women had a record of diabetes at some point during their working careers. The information on diabetes was extracted from inpatient and outpatient records and from purchases and special reimbursements of diabetes drugs. The first records of diabetes date back to 1964.”
Professor Johan Eriksson from the University of Helsinki, said that not diagnosing the condition earlier enough remains a problem. He said: “It should be noted, however, that the under-diagnosis of diabetes is about 20 per cent to 50 per cent.
“Type 2 diabetes is often first detected in healthcare check-ups or it might be a chance finding. Our findings indicate that comprehensive diabetes care is beneficial not only for the individual but also for society.
“Recent findings from a Danish study (STENO-2 follow-up) show that type 2 diabetes did not increase premature mortality, provided that the disease was treated properly. This supports our present findings.”
The study is published in the Acta Diabetologica journal.

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