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April 2022

‘Middle-age health problems’ more frequent in T2D

Numerous long-term health conditions that typically occur in middle age are experienced more frequently and earlier in people with T2D, a large nationwide study presented at Diabetes UK Professional Conference 2022 has revealed.

This is the most comprehensive observational study of health differences in middle age between people with and without T2D conducted to date.

It assessed the link between T2D and incidence of 116 long-term non-communicable conditions that commonly affect UK adults, including conditions affecting the heart, kidney, eyes and nervous system, and some cancers.

The research team found that:

  • T2D was linked to higher incidence of 57 out of the 116 long-term health conditions studied
  • On average, people with T2D experienced these long-term health conditions 5 years earlier than people without T2D
  • People with T2D were:
    • 5.2 times more likely to have end-stage kidney disease,
    • 4.4 times more likely to have liver cancer and,
    • 3.2 times more likely to have macular degeneration than people without type 2 diabetes;
  • People with T2D had a higher risk of 23 out of the 31 circulatory conditions studied.

Dr Elizabeth Robertson, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, said: ‘This study illustrates in alarming detail the unacceptable prevalence of poor health in middle-aged people with type 2 diabetes, and is a stark reminder of the extensive and serious long-term effects of diabetes on the body.

‘Type 2 diabetes and the complications that can lead from it are not inevitable. That’s why it's so important that people at increased risk of type 2 diabetes are supported to reduce their risk, and that those living with the condition have continued access to routine care and support to manage it well and avoid or delay

DUK 2022
Practice Nurse 2022;52(4):8