People with type 2 diabetes (T2D) have a greater chance of significant problems, which can cause early death. Compared with people without T2D at age 50, people with T2D tend to live about 6 fewer years. People living with T2D need to know that good care of blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol levels, and body weight may lower the risks of diabetes complications and death, leading to a longer life expectancy (how long a person can expect to live).

Know your numbers

When people with diabetes attend a clinic, it is valuable for them to know how well they are controlling their body mass index (BMI), HbA1c, blood pressure (especially systolic blood pressure or SBP), and cholesterol (specifically low-density lipoprotein cholesterol or LDL-c).

In a new study, researchers looked at data from 421 adults with T2D. People were grouped based on HbA1c, SBP, LDL-C, and BMI levels. The researchers looked at how improvements in these levels affected life expectancy over time. In this group, 46% were women, and the average age was 66 years. Researchers found that, compared with having a very high BMI of over 40, having a lower BMI adds two to four more years of life. Similarly, compared with an SBP of 160mm Hg (high), lower SBP levels were also linked to longer life in people with T2D. For LDL-C, the results were the same: lower is better. Reducing HbA1c from 9.9% to 7.7% (third) was linked to living 3.4 years longer. However, a further lowering to 6.8% was linked with only an average 0.5 years gain in lifetime. Going from 6.8% to 5.9% was not connected with a life span benefit.

Doctors can use these findings to help people with T2D reach their treatment goals and help prioritize action and programs for better diabetes care in the US.


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