Researchers have found that individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes before the age of 30 may experience a reduction in life expectancy of up to 14 years compared to those without diabetes. The study, published in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, revealed that for every decade earlier that type 2 diabetes was diagnosed, life expectancy was reduced by 3-4 years. The findings highlight the importance of early detection and intensive glucose management to prevent long-term complications associated with diabetes.
However, there is some promising news for those with early-onset type 2 diabetes. Another study presented at the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) found that tirzepatide, an injectable diabetes drug, is as effective in individuals with early-onset type 2 diabetes as it is in those who develop the condition later in life. Tirzepatide is one of a new class of drugs that mimic the effect of hormones involved in blood sugar control and appetite suppression. The drug was approved by the FDA in the United States in May 2022 and in the United Kingdom in September 2023.
Early-onset type 2 diabetes is generally more aggressive and harder to treat than type 2 diabetes diagnosed later in life, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, early death, and complications such as retinopathy, neuropathy, and nephropathy. Lifestyle modifications, including weight loss, a healthier diet, and increased physical activity, are recommended to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Additionally, early diagnosis and effective management are crucial for individuals with early-onset diabetes to improve long-term outcomes.