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Scientists Calculate the True Cost of an Unhealthy Lifestyle

July 10, 2015
Public Health

hospital-handNew research has shown that multiple conditions largely caused by an unhealthy lifestyle of poor diet, lack of exercise and smoking can cut decades off life expectancy. Scientists looked at data from 700,000 people who took part in the Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration study between 1960 and 2007 as well as 500,000 from the UK Biobank who were recruited between 2006 and 2010. 135,000 of the participants died during the study period.

Results showed that patients suffering from a combination of cardiometabolic diseases (including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke) had considerably reduced life expectancy. Men aged over 60 with any two of the conditions lost up to 12 years on average while women with all three conditions lost 16 years compared to 23 years for men.

Professor John Danesh, Head of the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Cambridge, told the Daily Telegraph, “Our results highlight the importance of preventing heart disease and stroke amongst patients with diabetes, and likewise averting diabetes amongst heart disease patients. Although patients with more than one condition constitute only a small proportion of the population at large, in real terms the numbers are not insignificant.”

More than 3 million people in the UK suffer from diabetes, while it is estimated that over 100,000 patients are affected by all three cardiometabolic diseases.