Mortality rate for type 1 diabetes is declining, but more progress is needed

The mortality rate of individuals with type 1 diabetes has decreased in recent years, but those with the condition still face a much higher risk of death than those in the general population, according to a new study from University of Pittsburgh researchers.

Their research, which was published in the journal Diabetes Care, highlights some of the accomplishments that have been made in recent years in caring for individuals with type 1 diabetes. However, it also points out that much more work needs to be done to get long-term survival rates on par with those of healthy individuals.

For the study, researchers followed a group of 1,075 patients who were being treated for type 1 diabetes for an average period of 33 years. During the course of the study, 279 participants died. In particular, the mortality rate among those with the condition was 5.6 times higher than it was in the general population during this time period.

However, the researchers did note that survival rates had improved significantly in more recent years. They told Endocrine Today that increases in diabetes awareness, improved blood sugar monitoring and more effective medications are among the main reasons for the growing survival rates.

While the persistently high mortality rates are discouraging, Trevor Orchard, who led the investigation, said he remained optimistic that advances in treatment will lead to continued improvements in mortality rates for those with type 1 diabetes.

"The remarkable finding is the dramatic decline in mortality seen throughout follow-up for those in later diagnosed cohorts," he told the news source. "Things are improving considerably, and I am sure mortality will get even better over time as those diagnosed most recently will be able to benefit more from advances in treatment since those diagnosed in the 1960s and 1970s."