Diabetes is when blood sugar in the body is too high because the body can’t use it properly, and type 2 – which affects 90 per cent of sufferers – often begins gradually and later in life.
It can cause short-term symptoms including feeling thirsty, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, itching around the penis or vagina and blurred vision, according to the NHS.
However, while these side-effects may seem small, a diagnosis could severely impact long term life expectancy.
Diabetes UK estimates those with type 2 may live up to a decade less than those who don’t suffer.
This is because type 2 diabetes raises the risk factors of a number of serious complications that can reduce life expectancy.
According to the NHS, high glucose levels for an extended period can harm blood vessels, nerves and organs.
Nerve damage in particular can lead to increased likelihood of amputations and infections, which can potentially prove fatal.
There is also a link between the condition and raised blood pressure.
The American Diabetes Association estimates that 71 per cent of people with diabetes have hypertension.
This in turn can raise risk of potentially deadly kidney disease, stroke and cardiovascular disease.
Similarly, 65 per cent of those with diabetes have high levels of bad cholesterol, raising risk of heart disease.
Decreased life expectancy in diabetes sufferers is often as a result of kidney disease,
But Diabetes UK note that the life expectancy of a sufferer will vary depending on when they are diagnosed and how well their condition is controlled.
Additionally, the NHS suggests that if blood sugar is properly managed it is possible to live a long life – and there is now some research to suggest type 2 diabetes could even be reversed.
For those with type 1 diabetes, Diabetes UK estimate that they could could have a reduced lifespan of around 20 years.
A 2012 study by the University of Pittsburgh, which looked at 30 years of data, showed that those born with the life-long condition after 1965 had a life expectancy of 69 years.
This is significantly lower than the current average English life expectancy of 79.4 for men and 83 for women.