Does Type 1 Diabetes Shorten Your Life? - An Expert's Perspective

When it comes to life expectancy, men and women with type 1 diabetes have traditionally had their lives shortened by more than 20 years. However, with the advancement of diabetes care in recent decades, people with type 1 diabetes are now living significantly longer. Statistics are based on historical figures of times when people with type 1 diabetes were not receiving the same level of care as they do today. A study published in The Lancet found that a 20-year-old woman with type 1 diabetes can expect to live 13 years less than a person without the condition, while men with type 1 diabetes lose about 11 years of life expectancy.

Another study of more than 27,000 people with type 1 diabetes found that the average lifespan of women diagnosed with the disorder before age 10 was 17.7 years shorter than that of their non-diabetic counterparts, and for men, a diagnosis before age 10 was associated with a shorter mean life expectancy of 14.2 years. In general, type 2 diabetes develops more slowly than type 1 diabetes and is initially treated with lifestyle changes such as weight loss, more exercise, and a healthier diet. However, it is important to note that how quickly diabetes was diagnosed, the progress of diabetic complications, and whether one has other existing conditions will contribute to life expectancy, regardless of whether the person concerned has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, recent studies on life expectancy show a significant improvement in the life expectancy rates of people with type 1 diabetes born in the late 20th century.

People with type 1 diabetes are known to live with this condition for more than 85 years. Before the discovery of insulin a century ago, the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes was a death sentence. But now, thanks to medical breakthroughs such as insulin therapy and improved blood sugar control, people with type 1 diabetes can live longer and healthier lives. It is important to note that poorly controlled blood glucose levels over time can lead to a poorer prognosis and a shorter life expectancy in people with diabetes.

Therefore, it is essential for those living with type 1 diabetes to take steps to manage their condition and ensure they are receiving the best possible care. This includes regular monitoring of blood sugar levels, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and taking any prescribed medications as directed.

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