People With Diabetes Can Live Longer by Meeting Their Treatment Goals

Shot of a elderly man holding a grocery bag in the kitchen

Life expectancy can be increased by 3 years or in some cases as much as 10 years.

At age 50, life expectancy- the number of years a person is expected to live- is 6 years shorter for people with type 2 diabetes than for people without it. People with type 2 diabetes can reduce their risk of complications and live longer by achieving their treatment goals.

What did this study examine?

This study measured average increases in life expectancy years for people with type 2 diabetes who met four different treatment goals. Researchers divided study participants into six groups based on sex and three age ranges. People with diabetes can use results to estimate their own likely life expectancy increase.

What’s important about this study?

By predicting life expectancy related to diabetes treatment goals, findings from this study can help people with diabetes and their doctors focus on treatment goals with the most impact. Decision makers can use this study to support diabetes programs in the United States.

What are the terms to know?

This study examined four diabetes treatment measures:

What were the results?

  • Managing weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol can increase life expectancy by 3 years for the average person with type 2 diabetes. And for people with the highest levels of BMI (average 41.4 kg/m2), A1C (average 9.9%), LDL (average 146.2 mg/dl) and SBP (average 160.4 mmHg), reducing these levels can potentially increase life expectancy by more than 10 years.
  • The benefits in life expectancy from meeting treatment goals in this study were highest in adults ages 51 to 60, compared to those 61 and older.
  • Of the four treatment goals studied, reduced BMI on average was associated with the greatest gain in life expectancy, followed by reduced A1C.
  • The benefit of weight loss may have been underestimated since it is often connected with other treatment goals in this study. Weight loss must be maintained in the long term for life expectancy benefits to apply.

What is the take-home message?

Living well with diabetes requires more than blood sugar management. Diabetes management is also connected to weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol. This study shows how people with type 2 diabetes can reduce their risk of complications and extend their lives.

Page last reviewed: June 10, 2022