The latest research has been investigating life expectancy in the case of type 1 diabetes patients. Doctor Helen Colhoun of the University of Dundee School of Medicine in Scotland said that they are working on improving life expectancy in patients, especially since the illness can cause sufferers to live 11 to 15 years less than any average person.
Type 1 diabetes, also called juvenile or insulin dependent diabetes is a form of the disease that causes the autoimmune system to destroy the insulin producing cells from the pancreas. The lack of insulin leads to high levels of glucose in urine and blood. People suffering from this disease have to be cautious about their level glucose in the blood. If not receiving the correct treatment , the disease can seriously affect the heart, kidneys, blood vessels, sight and can even create nerve damage.
About 29.1 million Americans have diabetes, out of which 5% suffer from type 1.
In the UK, earlier statistics showed that people suffering from type 1 diabetes died 15 to 20 years earlier than people not having the disease. In the 1970, reports have shown that the life expectancy for type 1 was of 27 years in the United States and in New Zealand in the 1980s it was 16.5 years.
New statistics used data from 24,691 of people living in Scotland, who had type 1 diabetes. The research was conducted between 2008 and 2010. The estimations showed that men suffering from type 1 diabetes would die 11 years sooner than men without the disease. As for women, they would die 13 sooner than the ones without the disease.
For example, a man aged 20 who suffers from type 1 diabetes is expected to live until 66 while women are expected to reach age 68. People without the disease have a life expectancy of 77 years for men and 81 for women. Still scientists stress that these numbers show how the average and might not necessarily apply to everyone.
Doctor Colhoun said the new results are centered around the need that patients with type 1 diabetes control their blood sugar, as the sugar level determines the health of kidney and prevents cardiovascular problems.
Another research studied 711 patients who controlled their blood sugar levels and 730 patients who did not control their blood sugar levels for seven years. At the end, the ones who rigorously controlled their blood sugar levels, had less changes of dying over 27 years.
Even though it cannot be cured, this gives hope for a better future for type 1 diabetes patients and shows an improvement for their life expectancy.
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