Thursday, July 9, 2015

Smoking, drinking, being overweight and failing to exercise cuts lifespan by 23 years

By Madlen Davies

Unhealthy lifestyles, including being overweight and smoking and drinking, can cut a person's lifespan by 23 years, scientists have warned.

A combination of heart disease and diabetes can shorten life by more than a decade, they said.

But, a person would have to be diagnosed with diabetes, and suffer both a stroke and heart attack before the age of 40, for their life expectancy to be slashed by 23 years, the study reveals.


Researchers came to the conclusion after analysing data on more than 135,000 deaths among more than a million study participants.

They calculated the life expectancy reductions associated with a history of 'cardiometabolic' diseases combining diabetes, strokes and heart attacks.

While considerable research exists about the risk of an early death from having one of these conditions, evidence about reduced life expectancy from having all three at the same time is sparse, researchers said.

They found there was a stronger link between these diseases and death in men than in women.

Men were less likely to survive suffering these conditions than women.

It is estimated that the majority of these diseases are preventable by maintaining a healthy weight, taking regular exercise, eating healthily and not drinking or smoking too much.
Lead researcher Dr Emanuele Di Angelantonio, from Cambridge University, said: 'We showed that having a combination of diabetes and heart disease is associated with a substantially lower life expectancy.

'An individual in their sixties who has both conditions has an average reduction in life expectancy of about 15 years.'
The effects were even more dramatic at younger ages, the study found.

Men of 40 with all three conditions could expect to have their life cut short by 23 years and women by 20 years.

For older men and women, having three conditions still significantly reduces lifespan, scientists found.

Men of 60 with any two of the cardiometabolic conditions studied lost 12 years of life on average.

The life span of those with all three conditions was reduced by 14 years.

For women aged 60, the corresponding estimates were 13 years and 16 years of reduced life expectancy.

The results suggest the estimated reductions in life expectancy associated with all three conditions are of similar magnitude to those previously noted for diseases which are of major concern to public health.

These include lifelong smoking, which leads to 10 years of reduced life expectancy, and HIV, which leads to 11 years of reduced life expectancy.

The findings were published in the journal JAMA.

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