TYPE TWO diabetes is linked to a shorter life expectancy across all levels of society in Scotland, a new study has suggested.
Researchers analysed health records of more than three million people and found the likely projected lifespan was lower by up to 5.5 years for some people with the condition compared to those without.
Around one in 20 people in Scotland have diabetes – 90 per cent of those are diagnosed with type two – and the condition is estimated to cost NHS Scotland £1billion per year.
Type two diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the body’s cells do not react to insulin, creating an inability to control blood sugar levels.
The chronic condition is linked to obesity and is more likely to be diagnosed in older people. Treatment involves controlling diet or medication, unlike type one diabetes which is typically treated with injections of insulin.
The study is the first of its kind to get a snapshot of type two diabetes and life expectancy in a national population.
Researchers at Scottish universities compared the anonymised health records of more than 250,000 people with type two diabetes against 2.8 million people without the condition, and generated life expectancies for those aged 40-89 in 2012 to 2014.
The study considered the data alongside an indicator showing the level of deprivation in an area.
Researchers found life expectancy was lower for those in the type two diabetes group compared to those without across almost every five-year age band and at all levels of deprivation.
Sarah Wild, Professor of epidemiology at Edinburgh University, which led the research, said: “Our study suggests that to improve life expectancy, we should encourage prevention and management for type two diabetes across all of society.
“Our next steps will be to investigate the relationship between socioeconomic status and factors that could be affecting lifespan, such as heart disease.”