Life Extension Update
Diabetes lowers life expectancy by seven to eight years
The June 11, 2007 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine published the results of a study by researchers in the Netherlands, England, and the United States that having diabetes decreases the life expectancy of individuals over the age of 50 by an average of 7.5 years for men, and 8.2 years for women, compared to nondiabetics.
For the current investigation, Oscar H. Franco, MD, DSc, PhD, of University Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and his associates used data from the Framingham Heart Study, which recruited 5,209 men and women between 1948 and 1951, and has examined them biannually for more than 46 years.
The researchers found that diabetics tended to be older, male, less likely to smoke, and more likely to have a family history of the disease. Compared to nondiabetics, men with diabetes had 2.4 times the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and 1.7 times the risk of dying from it, while female diabetics had 2.5 times the risk of cardiovascular disease and 2.2 times the risk of dying of the disease.
For men and women aged 50 and older, having diabetes reduced life expectancy by an average of 7.5 and 8.2 years less than nondiabetics. Life expectancy free from cardiovascular disease was further reduced in both male and female diabetics.
“These findings underscore the importance of diabetes prevention for the promotion of healthy aging,” the authors write. “Toward this end, it is essential to implement global strategies to change the current ‘Western’ lifestyle and to promote the adoption of physical activity and healthy diets.”
They conclude, “Prevention of diabetes is a fundamental task facing today’s society, with the aim to achieve populations living longer and healthier lives.”
A new approach to diabetes recognition and treatment is needed because the conventional wisdom has failed us. America is in the midst of a diabetes epidemic. Over the past 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled, and children are being diagnosed with diabetes in alarming numbers. Diabetes has rapidly emerged as a leading culprit in the epidemic of heart disease that is sweeping the country, and it is a leading cause of amputation and blindness among adults.
As a powerful antioxidant, lipoic acid positively affects important aspects of diabetes, including blood sugar control and the development of long-term complications such as disease of the heart, kidneys, and small blood vessels (Jacob S et al 1995, 1999; Kawabata T et al 1994; Melhem MF et al 2002; Nagamatsu M et al 1995; Song KH et al 2005; Suzuki YJ et al 1992).
Lipoic acid plays a role in preventing diabetes by reducing fat accumulation. In animal studies, lipoic acid reduced body weight, protected pancreatic beta cells from destruction, and reduced triglyceride accumulation in skeletal muscle and pancreatic islets (Doggrell SA 2004; Song KH et al 2005).
Lipoic acid has been approved for the prevention and treatment of diabetic neuropathy in Germany for nearly 30 years. Intravenous and oral lipoic acid reduces symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy (Ametov AS et al 2003).
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