medwireNews: People with type 2 diabetes develop other chronic conditions more frequently and around 5 years earlier than those without, say researchers.
The risk was particularly high for people who were younger than 50 years when diagnosed with diabetes, reported Luanluan Sun (formerly University of Cambridge, UK) at the 2022 Diabetes UK Professional Conference.
The team found that in people with type 2 diabetes the average age at onset of other chronic conditions was 47 years, which was 5 years earlier than in people without diabetes. Eye conditions and genitourinary conditions were diagnosed around 8 years earlier and circulatory and neurologic conditions around 6 years earlier.
The analysis excluded conditions specific to people with diabetes, such as diabetic retinopathy. The researchers looked at 116 conditions that are common and healthcare resource-intensive, have symptoms lasting more than a year, primarily affect adults, and are not caused by bacterial or viral infection. They found significant associations between type 2 diabetes and the risk for 60 of these conditions.
The study population comprised approximately 3 million adults from the UK Biobank and the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink, narrowed down to around 1.4 million with no baseline history of the 116 chronic conditions. Of these people, 34,064 had type 2 diabetes at baseline and 37,355 developed it during follow-up.
People with diabetes had a significant 9% increased risk for cancers, although this ranged from a 4.40-fold increased risk for liver cancer to protective effects against prostate and skin cancers. They had a 1.62-fold increased risk for circulatory disorders and more than twofold increased risks for genitourinary, eye, and neurologic disorders.
For all disease categories except cancer the risks further increased with younger age at diabetes diagnosis. For example, the risk for circulatory disorders increased by 28% per decade of earlier diagnosis, and people who had diabetes before the age of 50 years developed the highest-risk conditions 10–15 years earlier than people without diabetes, compared with less than 5 years earlier for people diagnosed in their 60s or later.
“Preventing and delaying the onset of diabetes remain essential to reduce diabetes-related events in middle age,” Sun concluded.
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