What is the Average Lifespan of a Person with Type 1 Diabetes?

Researchers have found that men with type 1 diabetes have an average life expectancy of about 66 years, compared to 77 years for those without the disease. Women with type 1 diabetes have an average life expectancy of about 68 years, compared to 81 years for those without the disease. After diagnosis, many type 1 and type 2 diabetics worry about their life expectancy. How quickly diabetes was diagnosed, the progress of diabetic complications, and whether one has other existing conditions will all contribute to life expectancy, regardless of type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

People with type 1 diabetes have traditionally lived shorter lives, with a life expectancy that has been reduced by more than 20 years. However, due to improvements in 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 had fewer treatment options. People with type 1 diabetes, in most cases, develop diabetes at a younger age than people with type 2 diabetes, so they usually spend a longer period of their lives living with the disease.

However, there is good news: people with type 1 diabetes are known to live with this condition for more than 85 years. 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. In general, type 2 diabetes develops more slowly than type 1 diabetes. Surprisingly, few studies have addressed the issue of life expectancy in type 1 diabetes.

One study of more than 27,000 people with type 1 diabetes (T1D) found that the average lifespan of women diagnosed with the disorder before age 10 was 17.7 years shorter (the range was 14.5 to 20.4 years) than that of their non-diabetic counterparts. For men, a diagnosis before age 10 was associated with a shorter mean life expectancy of 14.2 years (range 12.1—18.2 years). Life expectancy was also, on average, 10 years shorter for men and women together when the disease developed later between 26 and 30 years of age. About 26 out of 100,000 Americans live with some type of diabetes, and recent research suggests that the life expectancy of a person with type 1 diabetes may be shorter than that of the average person.

However, many deaths from diabetes occur due to complications of type 1 diabetes such as diabetic ketoacidosis and heart disease which are often preventable. Current prognosis for type 1 diabetes looks brighter than ever, with a possible cure on the horizon. While everyone is waiting for that, you may be able to avoid complications and live a long healthy life by closely following your treatment plan for type 1 diabetes. It is important to note that this study did not find that type 1 diabetes in itself reduces a person's life expectancy.

Rather, the study showed that poorly controlled blood glucose levels over time could lead to a poorer prognosis and a shorter life expectancy in people with diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes should take insulin regularly because the pancreas no longer produces this vital hormone. In the past, the only way to receive insulin was by injection several times a day. Today, insulin pumps can deliver a continuous flow of insulin to the body which means fewer injections.

In a very exciting research development from the Salk Institute scientists created the first insulin-producing cells that can evade detection by the immune system. This breakthrough could represent a cure for type 1 diabetes since cells work just like normal insulin-producing cells but are not attacked or destroyed by the immune system. In addition because the cells appear “invisible” to the immune system a person who receives a transplant of these cells created in the laboratory would not need to take immunosuppressive medications to prevent rejection of the cells. Currently these insulin-producing cells have only been tested in mice which means that it will take many more years of study before they are ready for human testing.

However this is a significant breakthrough in research that could ultimately cure type 1 diabetes. Until that time people with type 1 diabetes should carefully monitor their blood glucose levels and strive to control their sugar levels as tightly as possible a task that is often easier said than done because some research shows that poorly controlled glucose levels can reduce the life expectancy of people with diabetes it's worth following your treatment plan as carefully as possible so that you can lead a healthy and active life for a long time. This study found that type 1 diabetes reduces life expectancy by an average of 11 years in men and 13 years in women traditionally people with type 1 diabetes have lived shorter lives and life expectancy has fallen by more than 20 years therefore it can be concluded that in addition to the expected effect of dyslipidemia (high LDL and non-HDL cholesterol) HDL cholesterol itself exerts a significant protective effect on the development of CVD in patients with type 1 diabetes and elevated levels of HDL cholesterol appear to play an important role in longevity in these patients.

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