Do Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetics Have Different Life Expectancies?

People with type 1 diabetes, on average, have a shorter life expectancy than those with type 2 diabetes. According to the latest studies, the average person with type 1 diabetes is 42.8 years old and has a life expectancy of 32.6 years. On the other hand, the average person with type 2 diabetes is 65.4 years old and has a life expectancy of 18.6 years. Surprisingly, few studies have addressed the issue of life expectancy in type 1 diabetes.

However, a team led by Dr. Adrian Heald recently attempted to quantify the average reduction in life expectancy associated with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, respectively. The results of a new study suggest that the younger a patient is when diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the worse their prognosis for cardiovascular disease and the shorter their lifespan. Male diabetics show a slightly longer life expectancy than their counterparts in the non-diabetic population, with a marginal gain of 0.6 years over the entire observed period.

Livingstone and colleagues compared the life expectancy of Scottish men and women aged 20 and older who had type 1 diabetes with that of a group of adults without the condition. The leading causes of death were cardiovascular disease, cancer, acute complications of diabetes and accidents or suicide. Recent improvements in life expectancy, due to superior diabetes control, have been absolutely enormous. In the Scottish study, 21% of deaths among younger people (under 50) with type 1 diabetes occurred as a result of diabetic coma and related causes.

It is also worth noting that the Australian study found that much of the loss in average life expectancy was due to premature death from hypoglycemia, diabetic coma and kidney disease in younger patients. Patients with type 2 DM have a longer life expectancy than patients with type 1 DM and the overall life expectancy of diabetics is equal to that of the non-diabetic population, which could suggest better control of the disease and its associated complications in Bulgaria. A three-meal-a-day rather than six-meal-a-day approach brings more benefits to people with type 2 diabetes. It is important to confirm diagnosis by an endocrinologist and monitor patients more often compared to non-diabetics in order to diagnose and treat diabetes-related complications.

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