(HealthDay News) — While having 1 major health problem — such as diabetes, myocardial infarction, or stroke — can increase the risk for an early death, new research warns that the risk of dying prematurely goes up significantly for individuals with more than one of these conditions, according to findings reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Emanuele Di Angelantonio, M.D., a university lecturer in medical screening with the department of public health and primary care at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and colleagues pointed out that about 10 million men and women have some combination of diabetes, myocardial infarction, and stroke history in the United States and Europe. Recent estimates, the study authors noted, suggest about 3% of the American public has such a multiple risk profile. To explore how such a condition affects mortality rates, investigators reviewed information on almost 1.2 million men and women from a number of different countries.

The research team concluded that the years of life lost associated with having 2 or 3 of the target diseases ended up being even greater than the years lost in life expectancy among lifelong smokers and HIV patients. Smokers and people with HIV have been found to lose about 10 to 11 years of life expectancy, the study authors said. By comparison, having 2 cardiometabolic risk conditions at age 60 was linked to a 12-year drop in life expectancy, while having three conditions was linked to a 15-year drop. And those numbers could go even higher among patients whose diseases first strike before the age of 40.

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These findings are mainly for use by clinicians and policymakers, noted Di Angelantonio. The study results “emphasize, for example, the importance of measures to prevent cardiovascular disease in people who already have diabetes, and, conversely, to avert diabetes in people who already have cardiovascular disease,” he told HealthDay.


  1. JAMA. 2015;314(1):52-60. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.7008.