Open Accessibility Menu

Diabetes Life Expectancy

A diabetes diagnosis can be scary and can lead to many questions. What type of diabetes do I have? What are the differences between the types? What is the life expectancy for diabetes? How will it change my day to day life?

The good news is that diabetes is manageable and many people live long fulfilling lives with the condition.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition in which there is a higher amount of glucose, or sugar, in the blood than normal. The hormone insulin regulates the glucose by telling the body to break it down into energy. The labels type 1 and type 2 diabetes refer to how the body’s insulin is affected:

  • In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the cells responsible for producing insulin, meaning the body cannot take glucose from the blood to use as energy.

  • In type 2 diabetes, the body cannot produce enough insulin or the cells in the body can no longer respond to it, also known as insulin resistance.

What is Life Expectancy?

Life expectancy is the number of years a person is expected to live based on the statistical average. Life expectancy is affected by gender, geographical location and era. For example, a person born in the Bronze Age was not expected to live as long as a person born after 2000. Many things can affect life expectancy - for example, life expectancy averages in the United States have gone down over the past few years due to the pandemic.

Download Our Diabetes Guide

What is Life Expectancy with Diabetes?

The short answer first: thanks to advancements in medicine, with proper management, life expectancy for diabetes may not be much different from general life expectancy.

Past studies have indicated that the life expectancy of type 1 diabetes is between 10 and 20 years less than the life expectancy of a person without it. This is because people are generally diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at a younger age meaning they are managing the condition for a long time and having too much glucose in the blood takes a toll on the body. But again, with advancements in medicine, these statistics are slowly changing.

A recent study conducted by the CDC found that the type 2 diabetes life expectancy is about 6 years shorter than that of a person without the condition. The study focused on people diagnosed after age 50 and concluded that with proper management, life expectancy can be extended.

Diabetes and life expectancy is continually being researched. New and generally encouraging information is becoming available all the time and you can find stories of people who exceeded their life expectancy with diabetes with a simple Google search. The main takeaway is that doing everything you can to manage your condition - and not just managing blood sugar, but also weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol - gives you the best chance at a long healthy life.