Type 2 Diabetes, Socioeconomic Status and Life Expectancy in Scotland (2012-2014): A Population-Based Observational Study

Diabetologia. 2018 Jan;61(1):108-116. doi: 10.1007/s00125-017-4478-x. Epub 2017 Oct 26.


Aims/hypothesis: The aim of this study was to assess the role of socioeconomic status (SES) in the associations between type 2 diabetes and life expectancy in a complete national population.

Methods: An observational population-based cohort study was performed using the Scottish Care Information - Diabetes database. Age-specific life expectancy (stratified by SES) was calculated for all individuals with type 2 diabetes in the age range 40-89 during the period 2012-2014, and for the remaining population of Scotland aged 40-89 without type 2 diabetes. Differences in life expectancy between the two groups were calculated.

Results: Results were based on 272,597 individuals with type 2 diabetes and 2.75 million people without type 2 diabetes (total for 2013, the middle calendar year of the study period). With the exception of deprived men aged 80-89, life expectancy in people with type 2 diabetes was significantly reduced (relative to the type 2 diabetes-free population) at all ages and levels of SES. Differences in life expectancy ranged from -5.5 years (95% CI -6.2, -4.8) for women aged 40-44 in the second most-deprived quintile of SES, to 0.1 years (95% CI -0.2, 0.4) for men aged 85-89 in the most-deprived quintile of SES. Observed life-expectancy deficits in those with type 2 diabetes were generally greater in women than in men.

Conclusions/interpretation: Type 2 diabetes is associated with reduced life expectancy at almost all ages and levels of SES. Elimination of life-expectancy deficits in individuals with type 2 diabetes will require prevention and management strategies targeted at all social strata (not just deprived groups).

Keywords: Epidemiology; Life expectancy; Socioeconomic status; Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Scotland / epidemiology
  • Social Class