If you find out you have type 2 diabetes, you may be afraid of dying earlier than most people. You may be wondering "can you grow old with type 2 diabetes?".
Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to prevent this.
In this article I will give you a bunch of information about the life expectancy with type 2 diabetes. And I will also tell you what to do to maximize your life expectancy.
Your life expectancy with type 2 diabetes
This is not a fun topic but it is very important.
As a diabetic you don't have a pleasant foresight. Maybe you know someone in your area who has it and you have witnessed with your own eyes what damage it has caused to that person. Or maybe you have diabetes yourself and want to take all precautions to stay healthy for as long as possible.
Before I tell you what you can do to stay as healthy as possible, it's important to give you information about the life expectancy for type 2 diabetes. Once you understand what people with diabetes go through, it's a lot easier to make choices about how you want to deal with your disease.
In advance, I want to tell you that this is not the most cheerful article on this website. But it is important. Especially because as a diabetes patient you have the opportunity to influence the development of your illness.
Purpose of this article
If you understand what causes further health problems, you can do something about it. And that is why I will give you the 7 most important facts about your life expectancy as a type 2 diabetes patient, including tips to improve it.
#1: Your life expectancy with type 2 diabetes decreases by approximately 10 years
I think it's important to give you the summary first. And that is that if you become a diabetic at a relatively old age, your life expectancy will decrease by approximately 10 years.
That is pretty severe. Because suppose you would have become 75 years without diabetes. Then you will now only become 65 years. That is a big difference
In the rest of this article I will explain how this average can differ. Because not everyone will live ten years shorter. There are factors that can cause differences. And due to unhealthy behavior, your health can deteriorate even further, with all its consequences.
How do scientists obtain the average life expectancy?
That is very simple. They keep in touch with doctors who treat people with diabetes. The doctors tell the researchers how their patients are doing.
By doing this for a long time you can keep track of who gets complications and who stays healthy. And you find out who dies and who lives. In this manner researchers exactly know what the life expectancy is and how the diabetes is developing.
There are differences (with regard to life expectancy with diabetes) between these types of studies. The most important research from the UK shows about an average decrease of ten years.
But in an American study, life expectancy decreased by just 8.5 years.
That is a difference of a year and a half.
But despite that difference, it is very clear that diabetics live shorter lives. And the less healthy they live, the shorter their lives last.
Why do different studies show different results ?
Many people who want to do something about their lifestyle delay this because scientists never seem to agree. One says broccoli is healthy, a year later there is a study showing that broccoli leads to problems.
How do these differences emerge?
And what about research about the life expectancy of people with diabetes?
Many health problems are difficult to investigate. Scientists can often describe something, for example that people with diabetes live shorter. But then they do not immediately know why this is and what you can do about it.
Then scientists look at the difference between people with diabetes who take good care of themselves and people who don't.
People who neglect themselves and therefore have high blood sugar levels are more likely to suffer from complications and live less long. That is a fact which science has proven.
But the details of all this are less clear.
We know that if you take good care of yourself in the first place, you will not get type 2 diabetes mellitus (except in exceptional cases) and that you can prevent symptoms by continuing to take care of yourself. The conflicting information comes when you ask scientists about the details of their studies.
So do not get discouraged if you read in a newspaper article that something is good or bad when having diabetes just because until recently you thought the opposite. Scientists are trying to figure out the details, but the main lines are clear: the healthier you live, the longer you remain diabetes-free.
#2: Complications further reduce your life expectancy if you have diabetes
Suppose you have adult-onset diabetes. The doctor broke the news to you a few weeks ago and now that the first shock has disappeared, you have two choices:
If you choose the latter, you will eventually get problems with your body that can become a very big deal. The more complications you have and the more serious they are, the further your life expectancy will decrease.
And all because your blood sugar level is constantly too high and your body cannot handle it.
In my blog category about the complications of type 2 diabetes, you get an small but depressing overview of what to expect if you do not get your blood sugar level under control.
I highly recommend reading those articles.
All these complications arise because your organs and tissues are not resistant to increased blood sugar levels. By keeping the blood sugar low you can prevent the following:
And this, unfortunately, is just a brief overview of all the complications you can experience with type 2 diabetes.
#3: These are the most common ways of death
Cardiovascular disease is number one. Increased blood sugar level increases the chance of heart problems. Why? Because your blood vessels cannot handle a surplus of sugar in your blood. That's why they get damaged.
Combine this with the fact that most people with diabetes have high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Their risk of heart problems is already increased.
And if their blood vessels are damaged, that is an extra factor.
After cardiovascular disease people often die due to kidney problems or intracranial hemorrhage. Both are again partly caused by increased blood sugar levels.
How can you prevent cardiovascular disease?
The interesting thing is that the recommendations I give on this website are also very good for cardiovascular disease. If you follow my tips on nutrition, exercise and stress, you will also reduce the chance of getting heart problems. Besides the fact that these changes are good to cure your diabetes.
So you probably know that a elevated cholesterol level is not good for your heart. If you follow my tips on nutrition and exercise you will see that your cholesterol will decrease.
And stress also plays a major role in heart problems (and also in getting an intracranial hemorrhage). By reducing stress that also decreases.
#4: Your quality of life is not getting better
This is an understatement.
Imagine that you become visually impaired or blind. Or you have to go to the hospital all the time because your kidneys are damaged. And a foot that must be amputated because your elevated blood sugar level is destroying your legs.
Suppose you are lucky and your life expectancy is not decreasing as sharply as the average diabetic. You even live as long as a normal person but you have to live with the complications mentioned above. That is not a pleasant prospect.
I am not saying this to scare you or to criticize you. I want to make you aware of the consequences if you do not take action. Because maybe you are lucky and live as long as someone without diabetes...
...but if your blood sugar level is continuously increased you will get the complications I described above.
Living a long life and living a good life are not the same thing.
#5: Heart problems and other ailments make it worse
As I have already explained to you, the main cause of death for people with diabetes is getting cardiovascular problems. If you have diabetes and other variables that increase the chance of cardiovascular problems, that chance only increases.
Diabetes is a disease that affects your entire body. Elevated blood sugar levels will damage your entire body. The weakest link will be the first to give out. If other things are not working correctly, the chances increase you will suffer from these too.
An example are heart problems. Or eye problems.
If you know for example, that people in your family are dying of heart disease and you have diabetes, then you know that the chances have increased for you. Everything you can do to reduce this chance is an added bonus.
It is important to have a good conversation about this with your doctor. And to see what you can do yourself.
The most important thing is this:
#6: Keep your blood sugar level under control
If you have been diagnosed, as I said, you have two choices:
Every slight increase in your blood sugar level causes damage to your body, no matter how short this increase lasts. But if you decide to keep your blood sugar level low at all times, your body can recover slowly.
Keeping your blood sugar level low should therefore be your main priority if you have diabetes. Here you will briefly find the most important tips to get this done:
#7: You can change something no matter how old you are
What is hopeful is that, no matter how old you are, you can do something to increase your life expectancy if you have type 2 diabetes. Even elderly people who have neglected their bodies all their lives can now improve their quality of life by intervening.
Because if you stick to my tips long enough, your situation will improve. Once your blood sugar level is healthy, your body can begin to repair itself.
This is beautifully illustrated by an important study comparing life expectancy between people who take action and people who do nothing:
Suppose you get diabetes at the age of 50 and you intervene immediately.
You will lieve like the relatively healthy patient in the comparison above.
By following my tips you will heal your diabetes and you will go through life illness-free.
To keep it plain and simple: eventually everybody dies. But you have the choice if you want to postpone this for a few more decades...
...and if you want a lot or no pain in the last ten years of your life.
If you have type 2 diabetes, you can choose to intervene now and reduce the chance that this will kill you. It is perfectly possible to grow old with type 2 diabetes. Do you want to know how? Then look here:
The Diabetes-free Secret
As you have read, life expectancy with type 2 diabetes is very dependent on your lifestyle. Healthy aging is more in your control than you may have thought before reading this article. I want to help you with this.
Recently it has been discovered that it is possible to reverse type 2 diabetes. Everything you need to do this can be found in your local grocery store.
You can reverse type 2 with one powerful principle. It's something I call the"The Diabetes-Free Secret". I have written a number of pages about this secret that will change your life forever. You will learn:
Enter your e-mail address below and I will send you the E-book for free.
P.s: What do you do to increase life expectancy with type 2 diabetes? Is there something that you specifically do to age healthy? Leave a comment below