PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and it affects about 26 million Americans each year. We’ve known for quite some time that a person with diabetes has an increased risk of heart disease such as heart attack and stroke. But now according to a new report in the New England Journal of Medicine there are some more disturbing statistics.

Overall, people with diabetes die younger than people who do not have diabetes. This report was based on 820,000 people and it reviewed 97 existing studies. What they found is diabetes can shorten an average person’s life by six years. To put that in perspective, a person who smokes cigarettes can shorten his or her life by seven years.

Obviously this raises concerns but it doesn’t take one major fact into account — People who control their blood sugar with close measurement and medication do much better than those who do not monitor and treat their blood sugar on a regular basis. So if you’re a diabetic, don’t be discouraged but make sure you follow up closely with your doctor and take care of the condition every day.

Reported by Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio

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