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Mid-life diabetes can cut lifespan

A person who has diabetes in mid-life can see their life expectancy reduced by six years, a survey has revealed.

The illness was known to roughly double the risk of heart attacks and strokes but new findings from scientists indicated that people with type 2 diabetes are additionally at risk of dying from other diseases such as cancer and infection.

The team found people with diabetes were at greater risk of death from several common cancers, infections, mental disorders, and liver, digestive, kidney and lung diseases. It said the study emphasised the importance of preventing diabetes. Their study took into account other major risk factors such as age, sex, obesity and smoking.

Diabetes affects more than 2.5 million people in the UK and nearly 285 million people worldwide.

The team from the Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration - co-ordinated by the University of Cambridge - analysed data on 820,900 people, each of whom was monitored for about a decade.

Professor John Danesh, principal investigator of the study, from the University of Cambridge, said: "These findings broaden and intensify the need for efforts to prevent and understand diabetes.

"In particular, the findings highlight the need for more detailed study of whether treatments against diabetes may also be relevant to lowering the risk of a range of diseases, including common cancers."

The study was funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC).

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