Type 2 Diabetes and Life Expectancy

After getting diagnosed with either type 1 or 2 diabetes, people are worried about their life expectancy. The question is, how long can those affected with type 2 diabetes mellitus expect to live? It is difficult to find the exact number of years since several factors can influence a person’s expectancy. But, it is possible to get a general estimate.

Type 2 Diabetes

A 2015 study shows that the average life expectancy in non-diabetic patients is about 74.8 years. The female population typically has a longer life expectancy than males, with 78 years versus 71, respectively. Patients with type 1 or 2 diabetes are estimated to have a 70.96 and 75.19 years average life expectancy.

So, what is it that’s affecting diabetic life expectancy? Is there a clear factor that’s causing the shorter life with type 1 and type 2 diabetes? We decided to dig a little deeper and see what research has to say. Here is all you need to know about Mellitus and diabetes life expectancy.

How Can a Diabetic Life Expectancy Set Patients Apart From the General Population?

Diabetes is the 5th cause of death on the globe. Over 11.6% of deaths among 20 to 79-year-old patients in the UK can be associated with diabetes. Between 2000 and 2016, there was a 5% spike in premature mortality from the disease.

According to a global study and statistical reports, life expectancy on average is decreased by:

  • 10+ years in patients with type 2 diabetes
  • 20+ years in patients with type 1 diabetes

The life expectancy in newborns is estimated to be 81 years for girls and 77 years for boys. Among 65-year-olds, the average male could live to 83 years of age. And the average female is expected to reach 85 years of age. Type 1 diabetic patients are often found to have shorter lives. But, with proper care and management, the disease can be kept under control, and older adults can live longer.

Based on a large-scale study published by the Pittsburgh Epidemiology of Diabetes Complications, the life expectancy was 69 years for those born with type 1 diabetes after 1965. Luckily, diabetes care has come a long way since then, allowing people to stifle the disease and curb its symptoms. 

What’s Causing the Shorter Life Expectancy in Type 2 Diabetes?

A 2016 study shows that a massive portion of emergency department visits is for unstable blood sugar (glucose) levels. Around 235,000 visits were for extremely low blood sugar levels, while 224,000 were for severely high blood sugar levels.

Prolonged very high glucose levels can expose the patient to numerous diabetic complications. These include:

  • Heart disease (cardiovascular problems)
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetic retinopathy

The unstable blood glucose is also linked to other conditions, such as high cholesterol and blood pressure. Both of these disease complications can result in poor blood circulation and organ damage. In some cases, type 2 diabetes can hurt the kidneys, nerves, heart, and eyes. In specific situations, the complications from diabetic ketoacidosis and extremely low blood sugar (glucose) can put your life in danger.

When it comes to type 1 diabetes, people with this disease usually develop the condition at an early age. So, most of their life will be spent taking care of diabetes. The good thing is type 1 diabetes patients can live a long, quality life. Some have been registered to live over 85 years with diabetes.

As previously mentioned, a recent study on life expectancy showed a drastic improvement in diabetes care. Meaning that people have a much better opportunity to enjoy a great life. The key is to make sure you regulate the condition and get expert help to keep the disease on the right path.

Is Type 1 Diabetes More Serious Than Type 2?

Is Type 1 Diabetes More Serious Than Type 2

In most cases, 2 diabetes takes more time to develop compared to type 1 diabetes. Therefore, certain individuals could get diagnosed with 2 diabetes and other diabetes problems years after the onset of the disease. Some people can recognize the condition after experiencing debilitating symptoms. This could be a sign of diabetic complications.

Simply put, you can’t judge the disease based on the type you have. Both diabetes types can have a drastic impact on your overall health, especially if you don’t take the time to regulate the disease. What matters is that you give your best to care for the illness and your body.

When it comes to type 1 diabetes in our canine friends, if you can give your dog the insulin it needs, then diabetes might not influence its life expectancy. If dogs live past the first 3 months, then they usually do well with type 1 diabetes and 2 diabetes. So, the moment you notice an onset of canine diabetes, it is best to try and manage it. A proper diabetes diagnosis and treatment can help reduce cardiovascular mortality.


Diabetes UK. (2010). Key statistics on diabetes. Retrieved from: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/resources-s3/2017-11/diabetes_in_the_uk_2010.pdf

The global diabetes community. (2019). Diabetes Life Expectancy. Retrieved from: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-life-expectancy.html

Rachel G. Miller. (2012). Improvements in the Life Expectancy of Type 1 Diabetes. The Pittsburgh Epidemiology of Diabetes Complications Study. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3478551/

World Health Organization. (2020). Diabetes. Retrieved from: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/diabetes


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Staff Writer at fightdiabetes.com