Chinese adults diagnosed with diabetes in middle age lose an average of nine years of life compared to those without diabetes, according to new research published in the latest issue of JAMA .
In China, the prevalence of diabetes has quadrupled in recent decades, with an estimated 110 million adults now affected. Because the increase in diabetes prevalence in China is only recent, the full eventual effect on mortality is unknown.
A team of researchers at the University of Oxford in England, and Peking University in Beijing, followed 512,869 adults aged 30-79 years from 10 geographical areas scattered throughout China.
Overall, 6 per cent of participants had diabetes but this rose to 8 per cent in urban areas. One in two diabetics had not previously been diagnosed.
Compared to adults without diabetes, diabetics had twice the risk of dying during the follow-up period. The risk of dying from inadequately treated acute complications of diabetes was greater in rural areas, and was much higher than in high-income countries. The estimated 25-year probability of death was 69 per cent among those diagnosed with diabetes at age 50 years compared with 38 per cent in controls, corresponding to a loss of about nine years of life.