Navigation Links
Life Expectancy Improves for Type 1 Diabetics

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

SATURDAY, June 25 (HealthDay News) -- Advances in diabetes care have nearly eliminated the difference in life expectancy between people with type 1 diabetes and the general population, according to new research.

Life expectancy at birth for someone diagnosed with type 1 diabetes between 1965 and 1980 was estimated to be 68.8 years compared to 72.4 years for the general population. But, for someone diagnosed with type 1 diabetes between 1950 and 1964 the estimated life expectancy at birth was just 53.4 years.

"The outlook for someone with type 1 diabetes can be wonderful," said the study's senior author, Dr. Trevor Orchard, professor of epidemiology, medicine and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Orchard said that more recent improvements in diabetes care will make the outlook even brighter for people diagnosed more recently.

"We'll see further improvements in life expectancy compared to the general population," he said.

Results of the new study are scheduled to be presented on Saturday at the American Diabetes Association's annual meeting in San Diego.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, which means the body's immune system mistakenly sees healthy cells as foreign invaders, such as a virus. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, a hormone necessary for your body to use carbohydrates as fuel. Once these cells are destroyed, the body can no longer produce insulin. People with type 1 diabetes must replace the lost insulin through injections or an insulin pump or they would get very ill and could even die.

But, estimating the right amount of insulin you might need isn't an easy task. Too little insulin, and the blood sugar levels go too high. Over time, high blood sugar levels can damage many parts of the body, including the kidneys and the eyes. But if you get too much insulin, blood sugar levels can drop dangerously low, possibly low enough to cause coma or death.

Diabetes care today has advanced significantly since the people in Orchard's study were first diagnosed. Blood glucose meters weren't readily available back then. There were few choices in insulin, and there were no insulin pumps. It was far more difficult to maintain good blood sugar levels. And, Orchard noted that there was no way to measure long-term blood sugar control, as there is now. A test called the hemoglobin A1C can detect your average blood sugar levels for the past two to three months.

Orchard's study, known as the Pittsburgh Epidemiology of Diabetes Complications (EDC) study, included 390 people who were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes between 1950 and 1964, and 543 people who were diagnosed between 1965 and 1980.

The researchers found that the mortality rate was 11.6 percent for the 1965 to 1980 group and 35.6 percent for the 1950 to 1964 group.

That means for people diagnosed with type 1 diabetes between 1965 and 1980, their life expectancy improved by 15 years. At the same time, the life expectancy for the general U.S. population only improved by one year.

The gap between life expectancy for people with type 1 diabetes (diagnosed between 1965 and 1980) and the general U.S. population is now just four years, according to the study.

Orchard said this new information should help people with type 1 diabetes who may be unfairly penalized with higher premiums when they try to purchase life insurance.

Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the clinical diabetes program at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, called the new study "good research that's documenting what we're seeing. Our patients are doing much better. The morbidity is also much less. We used to see so much blindness and now we don't see that as much. I think this study is very reassuring."

Good blood sugar control is the key, said Zonszein.

Orchard agreed. "It's well worth getting good [blood sugar] control, as well as controlling blood pressure and [cholesterol]. These are all important." He added that people with type 1 diabetes who can avoid a kidney issue known as microalbuminuria actually have the same life expectancy as the average person in the United States.

More information

Learn more about type 1 diabetes from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

SOURCES: Trevor Orchard, M.D., professor of epidemiology, medicine and pediatrics, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh; Joel Zonszein, M.D., director, clinical diabetes program, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; June 25, 2011, presentation, American Diabetes Association annual meeting, San Diego

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. 4 preventable risk factors reduce life expectancy in US and lead to health disparities
2. 4 preventable risk factors reduce US life expectancy and lead to health disparities
3. U of M study: Monitoring cholesterol increases life expectancy
4. Americans life expectancy continues to fall behind other countries
5. Despite highest health spending, Americans life expectancy falls behind other countries
6. Economist honored for study on impact of new cancer drugs on life expectancy
7. U.S. Life Expectancy Drops Slightly
8. Smoking, Obesity Slowing U.S. Life Expectancy Gains: Report
9. Life expectancy of severely mentally ill dramatically reduced due to poor physical health
10. Great Depression did not significantly improve life expectancy in the US
11. Life expectancy in most US counties falls behind worlds healthiest nations
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Dehydration, defined as a loss ... to perspiration in the hot sun, and heat stroke and death will quickly follow. ... radio host Sharon Kleyne. Every cell, system and structure requires water to function properly. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 2015 , ... “I am so thrilled, as a newbie here, to leave a mark for ... $7,500 School Lounge Makeover® from California Casualty . Stephanie is in her fifth year ... much longer tenure. , “This is such an amazing school and we deserve a space ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... and safety labels , has been featured in the American Feed ... exclusively to representing the business, legislative and regulatory interests of the U.S. animal ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... Add a fresh touch to this year’s holiday festivities with indoor plants ... style and cheer to any space. , Holiday plants are more than just festive ... all year long. , “Holiday plants make a room come alive,” says Justin Hancock, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... , ... On the pleasant autumn morning of November 15, 2015, nearly 130 ... for Autism held at Steep Rock Preserve in Washington, Connecticut. The run, which offers ... triumph. , Created and hosted by The Glenholme School, a special needs boarding and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 Teledyne DALSA , a Teledyne ... technology, will introduce its CMOS X-Ray detector for mammography ... 29 to December 3, at McCormick Place in ... diagnostic and interventional imaging will be on display in the ... of advanced CMOS X-Ray detectors is the industry benchmark for ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Enova Illumination is ... of Helsinki, Finland to combine ... are at the cutting edge of medical visualization: Enova ... the United States and Novocam ... Together, they provide the world,s most powerful battery-operated LED ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015  Freudenberg Medical has developed specialty tubing ... outside of medical facilities. Africa ... care is sparse. Nevertheless, prompt diagnosis is important to treat ... the virus. With the help of a portable mini-lab or ... to village in affected areas and perform rapid testing for ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: