Diabetes is still a major issue in the world today. It is a major non-communicable disease which the world is currently grappling with. Diabetes is fully called diabetes mellitus and is a disease that occurs when there is a high amount of blood sugar or glucose circulating in the body. This is often due to decrease in the quantity of insulin produced by the body or inability of the body to respond to the function of insulin, causing insulin insensitivity. While type 1 diabetes occurs in the first scenario, type 2 diabetes is as a result of either the second scenario alone, or a combination of the two factors. Type 1 diabetes is typically seen in children and young adults while type 2 diabetes is typically diagnosed in people above 45 years, though recently, children and young adults are developing it.
According to the World Health Organization, about 422 million people worldwide have diabetes, the majority living in low-and middle-income countries, and 1.5 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes each year and 48% of all these deaths due to diabetes occurred before the age of 70 years. Also, between 2000 and 2016, there was a 5% increase in deaths before the age of 70 among diabetics.
Life expectancy is a hypothetical measure that estimates of the mean number of additional years that a person of a given age and in a certain condition can expect to live. Life expectancy can also be estimated from birth of an individual. It depends on several factors ranging from intrinsic genetic make-up of the individual, to his immediate environment, life style factors, social, and political factors among other factors. Diabetes affects the life expectancy of an individual diagnosed with the disease.
Factors that influence life expectancy in diabetic men
The life expectancy is influenced by the presence or absence of diabetic complications. These complications are either as a result of high blood sugar over a prolonged period of time or from the treatment of the disease. They occur both in type 1 and 2 diabetes and can be acute or chronic.
Acute complications of diabetes mellitus include hypoglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, and hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state. Hypoglycemia is an acutely life-threatening complication of diabetes and is also called low blood sugar and usually occurs when blood glucose levels are below 50 mg/dl in adults and 40 mg/dL in children. This usually occurs when diabetic drugs like insulin and oral medications are taken on an empty stomach or over dosed and can quickly lead to death.
The other complications of diabetic ketoacidosis, and hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state occur when the blood sugar is very high, sometimes as high as 500mg/dl. It usually results in weakness, loss of consciousness, and coma may result. If treatment is not started on time or it is not aggressively managed, it can also lead to death.
Chronic complications of diabetes mellitus are caused by elevated blood glucose levels and involve several important body tissues of the brain, eyes, heart, blood vessels, nerves, and kidneys. These will lead to kidney failure (Diabetic nephropathy), blindness (diabetic retinopathy, cataracts), cardiovascular disease (artherosclerosis), and stroke. Also, the damage caused by the presence of the high blood sugar destroys the nerves and blood vessels, reducing sensations mostly on the extremities. This means diabetic people may not know when they have sores or how serious their sores are because they have a reduced ability to feel pain. The destruction of blood vessels also make healing of such sores very difficult. These make the diabetics prone to chronic, non-healing ulcers which easily get infected and may lead to amputation of the limb, sepsis, and death in some cases.
These complications reduce the life expectancy of diabetic people, including the men.
Life expectancy of diabetic men
The life expectancy of Diabetic men varies across cultures and locations, and also depend on several factors including technological advancements. According to the Diabetes UK, the life expectancy of a person with type 2 diabetes is likely to be reduced due to the disease by up to 10 years and 20 years in type 1 diabetics.
A study published in the European Heart Journal reports that a 55-year-old male with type 2 diabetes is expected to live for another 13.2 to 21.1 years, while the expectancy for those without diabetes would be another 24.7 years. However, a 75-year-old male with the disease might expect to live for another 4.3 to 9.6 years, compared with the general expectancy of another 10 years.
.The advancement in science together with improvements in diabetic care, including the widespread popularity of the diabetic self-management care system has led to a much higher life expectancy among diabetics.
This is reflected in a recent study by the University of Manchester that reports that the average person with type 1 diabetes was 42.8 years of age and had a life expectancy from now of 32.6 years which is about 8 years less than a person without diabetes who at the same age is expected to live for 40.2 years. In contrast, the research reported that the average person with type 2 diabetics 65.4 years old and had a life expectancy from now of 18.6 years, which is about 2 years less than the person of same age without diabetes who is expected to live 20.3 years from now.
Another study reports that men aged 40 years with Type 2 diabetes are expected to lose about 2.7 years of life compared to a same aged person without diabetes.
If you are a man and have diabetes, visit your doctor regularly and adhere to the self-management plan to stay healthy and live longer.