Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes before you turn 40 shaves years off your life, major new research has today confirmed.
As The Daily Mail reports, the condition, which is reversible by adopting a healthier diet and lifestyle, is widely known to be a killer.
But experts have now uncovered the impact type 2 diabetes has on life expectancy on those diagnosed before their landmark 40th birthday.
They discovered adults struck down before they face a much greater risk of an early death than those who get it later in life.
They are two-and-a-half times more likely to die before they turn 75 than those who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes aged 60.
Scientists have speculated for years that early onset type 2 diabetes may be its own aggressive form of the condition.
But until now there was little proof.
The 'important' new findings - which come days after researchers found diabetes is made up of five conditions - shine light on the theory.
Researchers unveiled their study today at the annual Diabetes UK conference in Docklands, London.
They used data from the National Diabetes Audit, which tracked millions type 2 patients. It is compiled annually and uses NHS England figures.
As well as differences in mortality, an analysis also revealed younger patients of the 'silent killer' are more likely to be South Asian and have higher BMIs.
Dr Bob Young, one of the researchers, said: 'These important results add to the weight of evidence that Type 2 diabetes in people of working age carries the greatest health burden, and is an especially severe condition in this age group.'
Dr Elizabeth Robertson, director of research at Diabetes UK, said: 'This in-depth analysis stresses the seriousness of Type 2 diabetes, especially when developed earlier in life.
'It is important these findings are taken seriously and people at risk of Type 2 diabetes are given the support they need to help them minimise the likelihood of developing the condition.'
Diabetes experts from Glasgow, Leicester and Edinburgh universities were involved in the study.
The number of diabetes cases in Britain has doubled in just 20 years, making it the fastest growing modern health problem.
More than 4 million people have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, with soaring obesity levels blamed for a spike in patients.
Worldwide, there are believed to be around 380 million sufferers, which the World Health Organization claims will spiral to 'potentially devastating proportions'.
Type 2 diabetes is caused by having too much glucose in the blood because the body's way of turning it into energy is not working properly.
It can lead to heart failure, blindness and leg amputations. Experts believe having the condition takes 10 years off a patient's life expectancy.
Drugs to treat diabetes in general cost the NHS a tenth of its yearly budget - roughly equating to £14 billion.