Lifestyle improvements may add years to diabetics' lives

People with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes tend to die earlier than metabolically health individuals. However, experts say this doesn't need to be the case. The only cause of shortened lifespans is damage caused by persistently high blood sugar levels. Yet, with appropriate management, diabetics can have nearly normal glucose levels.

Dr. Clyde Yancy, a cardiologist and professor at Northwestern University, recently said that he believes individuals can add decades to their life if they follow a few simple lifestyle guidelines. His comments were mainly directed toward metabolically healthy individuals, but they may be even more important for diabetics.

He recommended that people stay on top of six different areas of health. Physical activity, cholesterol management, eating right, blood pressure regulation, eating a healthy diet, managing blood sugar levels and not smoking are among the most important things individuals can do increase their life expectancy.

These lifestyle factors are particularly important for avoiding heart disease. This is the leading cause of death among individuals with diabetes, as well as in the general population. Preventing cardiovascular complications could be the single most important key for extending life expectancy for diabetics.

"By following these steps, we can compress life-threatening disease into the final stages of life and maintain quality of life for the longest possible time," said Yancy.

Individuals with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes often report having a feeling of helplessness when it comes to their disease. It can often seem like an overwhelming task to manage blood sugar levels at all hours of the day. However, diabetics may have more control over their health than they are aware. Yancy's statements are a good example of how diabetics can manage their condition.