A Dramatic Life Expectancy Increase for Type 1s

A Dramatic Life Expectancy Increase for Type 1s

| Aug 24, 2012

A 30-year study of life expectancy among people with type 1 diabetes showed a dramatic increase during the second half of the study, say researchers at the University of Pittsburgh. Type 1s diagnosed between 1965 and 1980 have a life expectancy of 68.8 years—15 years more than type 1s diagnosed between 1950 and 1964. In the same period, general life expectancy for US residents increased by less than one year.

The increase in life expectancy occurred regardless of patients’ sex or age  at the time of diagnosis. It was associated with a significant decline in mortality: Patients diagnosed from 1965 through 1980 had a 30-year mortality rate of 11.6 percent, versus 35.6 percent for patients diagnosed from 1950 through 1964.

The researchers derived their results from the Pittsburgh Epidemiology of Diabetes Complications study, a long-term project that in 1986 began to examine type 1 diabetes patients who had been diagnosed in childhood.

The study’s senior author, Trevor Orchard, MD, professor of epidemiology, pediatrics, and medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, said that while scientists have known that mortality rates for type 1s have been declining over time, nobody was quite sure what actual life expectancies for type 1s might be. He said that the impressive improvement documented by the study is “a tribute to how modern day treatment has dramatically changed the outlook for those with childhood onset type 1 diabetes.”

An abstract of the study is available at the American Diabetes Association website. 

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Categories: American Diabetes Association (ADA), Diabetes, Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Magazine, Diabetic, Research, Type 1 Issues

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Posted by Anonymous on 28 August 2012

Don't worry too much. I was diagnosed in 1956 and I am 66. When I was a child, several doctors told my parents (and me!) that I would be dead by the time I was 40. All those doctors are dead now and I am still going, so they don't know everything! And, trust me, it's not because I am a model diabetic - my A1Cs make doctors blanch.

Posted by Anonymous on 29 August 2012

Those stats are just averages. I don't think the point is to give people the average life expectancy but rather to show how much longer type 1's are living. The did say in the article that they really don't know the life expectancy of type 1's so ease your mind. :) There are also a lot of factors that play into it, such as how much do you take care of yourself, how long have you had the disease, other health problems, etc. I'm sure you'll be around for a while! :)

Posted by Anonymous on 29 August 2012

Rick, you can make your own statistic! You can determine your own longevity with the behavior you practice. Just like the general "healthy" population, exercise is a major key to success. I was diagnosed in 1961, and I'm 60. We lived in a time when the technology available to us was pretty prehistoric, but evolving fairly quickly. I started with stainless steel needles and glass syringes that you boiled then reused... talk about dull! There was no such thing as fast-acting, short duration insulin or human insulin analogs! You probably remember that as well. We all need to stay focused and behave responsibly to maximize our longevity and quality of life.

Posted by Anonymous on 29 August 2012

Think life insurance companies will take this into account before offering me a plan with an outrageous monthly premium? ... I think not.

Posted by northfarm on 30 August 2012

This is another chicken and egg story. I have never met a Type 1 (which I am one) nor a Type 2 that experiences the same development prediabetic history of genetic history, medical history, life and family history pre diabetic and post diabetic. My family diabetic history is my Grandmother (Type 1) who died the year I was borm my younger sister by 4 years was diagnosed at 21 as a Type 2 who has been on insulin for 10 +/- years. Myself, I was diagnosed at 24 and have been a true Type 1 from the get go. I have been on an Insulin Pump since 1980 (thanks to the Krock Foundation Study) and I am still a pump wearer without missing a single day since 1980.

My point we three (Grandmother, Sister & Brother) are very much alike and at the same time quite different medically, mentally and culturally. My point is that there can never be an average age for Type 1 or Type 2 life expectancy based upon Diabetes since there are too many factors such as life style, eating habits, gene structure, personal habits, medical history etc. etc. etc.

Posted by Trekker on 4 September 2012

The Joslin Diabetes Center is doing an ongoing study on those who have lived with Type 1 for 50+ years. Many tests are done including DNA. Living a long time with Type 1 diabetes is nothing to be "sneezed" at. I think it is a tremendous milestone and perhaps they will find something in the many, many Type 1's who have gone through this study, that will show up to help others.

Posted by Anonymous on 16 September 2012

So am I reading this right? My life expectancy went from 78.2 in the US to 68.8? That's kind of depressing. Maybe this was not a good choice for this magazine?

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