Life expectancy increases for individuals with type 1 diabetes

Individuals with type 1 diabetes are living longer than ever. In fact, the life expectancy of diabetics is increasing at rates faster than those seen in the general population, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Pittsburgh.

After reviewing data from a study that began in 1986, the researchers found that individuals diagnosed with type 1 diabetes between 1965 and 1980 had an average life expectancy of 68.8 years. This was 15 years more than the average life expectancy of individuals diagnosed with the condition between 1950 and 1964.

Comparatively, life expectancy in the general population increased by less than one year during this time period.

Similarly, the 30-year mortality rate for those diagnosed with diabetes after 1965 fell to 11.6 percent, which was down from 35.6 percent in previous decades.

The researchers, who were presenting their findings at the 71st Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, said that their findings show the tremendous strides that have been made in treating type 1 diabetes over the years.

Over time, high levels of blood sugar cause damage to tissues throughout the body. This often damages the kidneys, cardiovascular system and nervous system. These complications were once extremely prevalent in individuals with type 1 diabetes.

However, over the past few decades doctors have learned how to more effectively manage a patient's blood sugar levels with insulin. Additionally, new medications have made it even easier for a person with the condition to maintain tight control over their glucose levels.

This may be one reason why life expectancy has increased so dramatically for individuals with type 1 diabetes.
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