Reducing 4 Risk Factors in Diabetes can Add Years to One’s Life

Having diabetes is a lot of work. We ask participants with diabetes to change their eating habits, drink water, move more, take a bunch of medications and attend diabetes classes plus see providers on a regular basis. In addition, we collaborate with and encourage them to get their ABC’s (A1C, Blood pressure, Cholesterol) to target.

Is worth all the work?

The short answer is YES. Making these hard fought behavior changes can add years to one’s life.

A recent study published in the JAMA Network last month suggests that people living with Type 2 Diabetes can increase life expectancy by reducing 4 risk factors and hitting specific metabolic targets.

This study evaluated life expectancy increases among 421 people living with type 2 diabetes for those who reduced A1C, systolic blood pressure (SBP), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and body mass index (BMI) with each biometer goal was broken into quartiles.

A message of hope

Providers can shine a light on these findings to encourage people with diabetes to make those difficult behavior changes, and to keep working at it when the going gets tough. Their efforts do make a difference in improving life expectancy and daily quality of life.

Reducing A1C

Participants who reduced their A1C saw the highest increase in life expectancy compared to the other biometers. For those with the highest A1Cs, lowering their levels added years to their life expectancy.

  • Fourth Quartile – The individuals who were able to bring their A1C’s down to 5.9% that started in the highest quartile at an average of 9.9% saw an average of 3.8 years added to their life expectancy.
  • Third Quartile – Those who brought it down to 7.7% from 9.9% in the third quartile saw an average 3.4-year gain.
  • Second Quartile – Participants in the second quartile with a change of 7.7% to 6.8% only saw a 0.5-year change in life expectancy.
  • First Quartile – No change in life expectancy was seen for those in this quartile who went from a 6.8% HbA1c down to 5.9% HbA1c.

Lowering Systolic Blood Pressure

Lowering blood pressure added just over a year to the participant’s life expectancy.

  • Fourth Quartile: The average baseline blood pressure was 160.4 mm Hg
  • Third Quartile: Participants with a 139.1 mm Hg saw 1.1 years gained in life expectancy.
  • Second Quartile: A 128.2 mm Hg was associated with a 1.5-year gain in life expectancy.
  • First Quartile: The highest increase in life expectancy for blood pressure was for those at 114.1 mm Hg with a 1.9 year gain.

Lowering LDL Cholesterol

Participants with lower LDL cholesterol, saw a change in life expectancy by a few months.

  • Fourth Quartile: The baseline was 146.2 mg/dL.
  • Third Quartile: Those who had a 107.0 mg/dL saw a half-year increase in life expectancy.
  • Second Quartile: Those who had an 84.0 mg/dL saw a 0.7 year gain in life expectancy.
  • First Quartile: Individuals who had a 59 mg/dL saw a 0.9-year gain in life expectancy.

Lowering Body Mass Index

Participants who were able to decrease their BMI saw a increased life expectancy by a few years.

  • Fourth Quartile: The baseline BMI was 41.4 (fourth quartile) with the lower three quartiles seeing a change in life expectancy.
  • Third Quartile: For individuals with a BMI of 33.0, they saw an additional 2 years of life expectancy
  • Second Quartile: Those who had a BMI of 28.6 saw an additional 2.9 years of life expectancy
  • First Quartile: Those living with Type 2 with a BMI of 24.3 see an additional 3.9 years of life expectancy

Smoking cessation also had an impact with 0.7 years added for women aged 50 to 60 years and 1.1 years for men aged 70 to 80 years of age.

Overall, we hope this news brings hope to those living with Type 2 diabetes and improves care knowing that reaching these goals can extend their lifetime.

To read more click here and here.

Join us live next Tuesday and Thursday as we continue our Level 2 – Standards of Care Intensive live updates! Read more and enroll below.

Level 2 | Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes Standards | 1.5 CEs | $29

Join us live on May 10, 2022, at 11:30 am PST

This course takes a close look at insulin resistance syndrome and vascular complications. We discuss the impact of vessel disease from the heart to the toes. Included is a discussion of identifying and preventing vascular disease and a comprehensive review of the latest ADA Standards of Care for heart disease.


  1. The impact of insulin resistance and hyperglycemia on vessel disease
  2. State the complications and factors associated with vascular disease
  3. List management goals to reduce the risk of vascular disease
  4. Discuss strategies to promote health

Level 2 | Older Adults and Diabetes Standards | 1.5 CEs | $29

Join us live on May 12, 2022, at 11:30 am PST

This course integrates the ADA Standard of Care on elements of a comprehensive medical assessment (Standard 4) of the individual living with prediabetes, diabetes, or hyperglycemia. Through case studies and real-life situations, we discover often hidden causes of hyperglycemia and other complications, such as liver disease, sleep apnea, pancreatitis, autoimmune diseases, fractures, and more. We delve into therapy for complicated situations and discuss management strategies for other conditions associated with hyperglycemia such as Cystic Fibrosis, and Transplants. Join us for this unique and interesting approach to assessing and evaluating the hidden complications of diabetes.


  1. Identify common yet often underdiagnosed complications associated with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
  2. State strategies to identify previously undiscovered diabetes complications during assessments.
  3. Discuss links between hyperglycemia and other conditions including, transplant, cystic fibrosis and liver disease.

Level 2 | Standards of Care Intensive | 20 CEs | $199

2022 Update Airs May 10 – May 26, 2022

This bundle is specifically designed for healthcare professionals who want to learn more about the ADA Standards of Diabetes Care for their clinical practice or for those who are studying for the BC-ADM or the CDCES certification exam.

Previously recorded

Upcoming Updates

Sign up for Diabetes Blog Bytes – we post one daily Blog Byte from Monday to Friday. And of course, Tuesday is our Question of the Week. It’s Informative and FREE!  Sign up below!

Sign up for DiabetesEd Blog Bytes

* indicates required



The use of DES products does not guarantee the successful passage of the CDCES exam. CBDCE does not endorse any preparatory or review materials for the CDCES exam, except for those published by CBDCE.