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Life expectancy of diabetics 12 years less than others


Ontario diabetics live 12 to 13 years less than people without the disease, says a new study - a finding which is one of the factors prompting the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to investigate additional strategies for diabetes management and prevention.

The study, which appeared in the February issue of Diabetes Care, is the first to assess the impact of the disease on life expectancy in the province. Life expectancy for male diabetics in Ontario is 64.7 years (77.5 in general male population) and for female diabetics, 70.7 years (82.9 in general population). Eradicating diabetes would increase life expectancy by 2.8 years for men in the province and 2.6 years for women.

"We knew diabetes was common and that it killed people, but we didn’t know to what degree it affects overall health," says Professor Douglas Manuel of the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Toronto and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES). "We’re definitely planning to use this method for evaluating the impact of heart disease, and hopefully, other conditions as well."

In their research, Manuel and his colleague, Susan Schultz of ICES, also captured the effects diabetes has on both quality of life and longevity in a measure called health-adjusted life expectancy. Their conclusions are based on the evaluation of 1996-97 data from a population health survey linked to a diabetes registry.

Elaine Smith | EurekAlert!
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