The combination of two serious, chronic health conditions can drastically reduce a person’s lifespan say researchers.
A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association was conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge. About 135,000 deaths were analyzed during prolonged follow-up of nearly 1.2-million people in population cohorts. By analyzing different pairings of health risks – stroke, diabetes, heart attack – estimates were made to determine which combination reduced one’s life the most.
The analysis revealed that every one in 100 people had at least two conditions. Researchers found that those with diabetes and heart disease had a greater reduction in life expectancy compared to other combinations of illness.
Researchers noted that after 60 years of age, men with two cardiometabolic conditions could lose up to 12 years off their life. Men with three conditions or more shortened their lifespan by up to 14 years. Women could shorten their lifespan by up to 13 years with two conditions, and up to 16 years with three or more.
Even those at the age of 40 could experience a dramatic drop in life expectancy with two or more health conditions. Forty-year-old men could lose 23 years off their life if they had diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Whereas women could lose 20 years off their life under the same conditions.
Although the biggest risk for shortening lifespan was a combination of diabetes and heart disease, researchers suggest people should work to prevent all three cardiometabolic conditions as much as possible.