One study found that people over the age of 40 with type 2 diabetes are at the same risk of COVID death as 60-year-olds. (Getty Images)
While the risk of dying from coronavirus increases significantly with age, scientists advise younger people with type 2 diabetes to exercise caution.
Researchers have found that a 40-year-old with the disease is as likely to have a fatal outcome as a 60-year-old non-diabetic after being infected with COVID-19.
The Exeter University study found that the increased mortality from coronaviruses from type 2 diabetes increases with age.
This means that older people with this condition had a “COVID age” similar to their real age, while middle-aged people with type 2 diabetes were at a comparatively higher risk.
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For example, a 40-year-old with type 2 diabetes had the same probability of death as a healthy 60-year-old, while a 50-year-old with this disease had the same risk as a 66-year-old without diabetes.
For a 70 year old with diabetes, this equates to a 78 year old without the disease.
This does not mean that people with type 2 diabetes are more likely to be hospitalized or die from the virus, just that younger people with the disease are more susceptible compared to older patients.
Dr. Andrew McGovern of Exeter University Medical School told the Sunday Times, “It was a pretty surprising result. You expect the risk to be the same for all age groups, but it is strikingly different in younger people.
“This is most important in middle age because that age already increases the base risk slightly, and then adds this huge additional risk from diabetes. It really makes a difference.”
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Obesity accounts for 85% of the risk of type 2 diabetes. So experts warn that many people affected may need to lose weight to protect themselves during the pandemic.
The disease affects four million people in the UK, another million don’t know they have it.
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It has already been established that obesity can increase the risk of coronavirus mortality as excess fat can put pressure on the lungs.
According to the NHS, you can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by making healthy lifestyle changes.
These include losing weight, eating a nutritious and balanced diet, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol and getting enough exercise.
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