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Toennies, Thaddaus; Baumert, Jens; Heidemann, Christin; Lippe, Elena von der; Brinks, Ralph and Hoyer, Annika (2021): Diabetes free life expectancy and years of life lost associated with type 2 diabetes: projected trends in Germany between 2015 and 2040. In: Population Health Metrics, Vol. 19, No. 1, 38

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Background: Type 2 diabetes (T2D) causes substantial disease burden and is projected to affect an increasing number of people in coming decades. This study provides projected estimates of life years free of type 2 diabetes ( T2D) and years of life lost ( YLL) associated with T2D for Germany in the years 2015 and 2040. Methods: Based on an illness-death model and the associated mathematical relation between prevalence, incidence and mortality, we projected the prevalence of diagnosed T2D using currently available data on the incidence rate of diagnosed T2D and mortality rates of people with and without diagnosed T2D. Projection of prevalence was achieved by integration of a partial differential equation, which governs the illness-death model. These projected parameters were used as input values to calculate life years free of T2D and YLL associated with T2D for the German population aged 40 to 100 years in the years 2015 and 2040, while accounting for different assumptions on future trends in T2D incidence and mortality. Results: Assuming a constant incidence rate, women and men at age 40 years in 2015 will live approximately 38 years and 33 years free of T2D, respectively. Up to the year 2040, these numbers are projected to increase by 1.0 years and 1.3 years. Assuming a decrease in T2D-associated excess mortality of 2% per year, women and men aged 40 years with T2D in 2015 will be expected to lose 1.6 and 2.7 years of life, respectively, compared to a same aged person without T2D. In 2040, these numbers would reduce by approximately 0.9 years and 1.6 years. This translates to 10.8 million and 6.4 million YLL in the German population aged 40-100 years with prevalent T2D in 2015 and 2040, respectively. Conclusions: Given expected trends in mortality and no increase in T2D incidence, the burden due to premature mortality associated with T2D will decrease on the individual as well as on the population level. In addition, the expected lifetime without T2D is likely to increase. However, these trends strongly depend on future improvements of excess mortality associated with T2D and future incidence of T2D, which should motivate increased efforts of primary and tertiary prevention.

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