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Diabetes diagnosis before age 40 linked to increased death risk

By Tauren Dyson
Diabetes diagnosis before age 40 linked to increased death risk
Researchers show that as obesity rates have increased in recent decades, type 2 diabetes diagnoses in adolescents and young adults have gone up as well. Photo by Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

April 8 (UPI) -- When it comes to type 2 diabetes, the earlier a person receives a diagnosis, the higher their risk of having a cardiovascular event, new research shows.

Anyone diagnosed with type 2 diabetes prior to age 40 has an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, atrial fibrillation and death from any cause, according to a study published Monday in Circulation.

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"Our study shows the differences in excess diabetes risk are tied to how old the person is when they are diagnosed with type two diabetes," Naveed Sattar, a researcher at the University of Glasgow and study lead author, said in a news release.

The researchers point to obesity as a major factor for climbing type 2 diabetes numbers among young people. This has led to more young people than ever being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, according to the study.

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For women, the threat of heart disease resulting from type 2 diabetes is much higher than for men. According to the Office on Women's Health, women who have heart attacks have lower survival rates and receive worse quality for treatment following the even.

About 30 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among American adults with type 2 diabetes, 12 percent are overweight and 21 percent are obese.

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The older a person is when they receive a type 2 diagnosis, the lower their cardiovascular disease risk.

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"This suggests we need to be more aggressive and controlling risk factors in younger type two diabetes population and especially in women," Sattar said. "And, far less effort and resources could be spent screening people 80 and older for type two diabetes unless symptoms are present. Furthermore, our work could also be used to encourage middle-aged people at elevated diabetes risk to adopt lifestyle changes to delay their diabetes by several years."

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