Years of potential life lost in pre-diabetes and diabetes mellitus: data from a 40-year follow-up of the Israel study on Glucose intolerance, Obesity and Hypertension

BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care. 2021 Mar;9(1):e001981. doi: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2020-001981.


Introduction: We examined years of potential life lost (YPLL) associated with pre-diabetes as compared with either normoglycemia or diabetes, using data of the Israel cohort of Glucose intolerance, Obesity and Hypertension 40-year follow-up.

Research design and methods: Men and women (N=2844, mean age 52.0±8.2 years) who underwent oral glucose tolerance test and anthropometric measurements, during 1976-1982, were followed for mortality until May 2019. Multiple imputation procedures for missing mortality dates and multivariable regression mixed models were applied.

Results: At baseline, 35.8%, 48.8% and 15.4% individuals were found with normoglycemia, pre-diabetes, and diabetes, respectively. The average difference in YPLL associated with pre-diabetes as compared with normoglycemia was 4.3 years (95% CI 3.3 to 5.2; p<0.001). YPLL were 1 year higher in women with pre-diabetes than in men with pre-diabetes. These differences persisted mainly in individuals younger than 60 years, and those with body mass index (BMI) <25 kg/m2, at baseline. Adjusting for age, sex, country of origin, smoking status, BMI, and blood pressure, the average difference in YPLL associated with pre-diabetes as compared with normoglycemia was 2.0 years (95% CI 1.2 to 2.8; p<0.001). Significant reductions of 5.9 years (95% CI 4.8 to 7.0) on average were observed for diabetes as compared with pre-diabetes and 7.9 years (95% CI 6.7 to 9.1) as compared with individuals with normoglycemia.

Conclusions: This study reveals that life expectancy of middle-aged individuals with pre-diabetes is shorter than of normoglycemic ones. These findings are especially relevant in view of the rising worldwide prevalence of pre-diabetes within younger age groups and underscore the crucial importance of interventions by either lifestyle modification or drug therapy capable of delaying progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes to reduce the YPLL in this high-risk group.

Keywords: cohort studies; diabetes mellitus; mortality; pre-diabetic state; type 2.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glucose Intolerance* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / epidemiology
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Life Expectancy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Prediabetic State* / epidemiology