Lifestyle changes can dramatically reduce the risk of early death for Britain’s four million Type 2 diabetes patients, he explains.
But with the fatty and sweet Western diet increasingly popular worldwide, public health officials face an uphill battle to make those changes a reality.
‘As the prevalence of diabetes in young adults increases and the adult population grows, the annual number of deaths related to diabetes is likely to continue to increase, unless there is substantial improvement in prevention and management,’ Professor Chen said.
The new findings show diabetes also raises the risk of dying from chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, infection and cancer of the liver, pancreas and breast.
In China, diabetes prevalence has quadrupled in recent decades because of an increasingly sedentary, Westernized lifestyle and diet with an estimated 100 million adults now affected.
Most previous studies of the disease have been in high income countries where patients are generally well managed.
The researchers estimated those diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 50 were almost twice as likely to die over the next 25 years (69 percent) compared with otherwise similar individuals (38 percent).