If you or a family member is struggling with type-1 diabetes
, new research promises to deliver some encouraging news. A study recently published in Diabetes Care
states that death rates have dropped significantly in people diagnosed with type-1 diabetes.
The study’s senior author, Dr. Trevor J. Orchard at the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, says, “The encouraging thing is that, given good diabetes control, you can have a near-normal life expectancy.”
That’s the good news. The discouraging news is that the death rates for those with type-1 diabetes are still higher than for most of the population . . . as much as seven times higher. Women have the highest rates of all. They are 13 times more likely
to die early than women who don’t have the disease. Why does type-1 diabetes carry an increased death rate?
Because the insulin replacement therapy people with type-1 must have to survive isn’t as effective as natural insulin, blood sugar is often difficult to control. Glucose levels fluctuate, sometimes to dangerous levels. Even with the advancements in science, it’s still hard to pinpoint just how much insulin is needed. If blood sugar remains too high, long term complications such as kidney failure and heart disease occur. Too much insulin can lead to dangerously low blood sugar
, which can lead to coma and even death.
But thanks to the advances in technology, it’s now possible to largely prevent such complications. New blood glucose monitors, new and better insulins, and insulin pumps make it much easier to manage type-1 diabetes.
The research also showed that those diagnosed after 1970 had a better mortality rate than those diagnosed in the 1960s.
The lasting message of the study is that diabetes care has improved dramatically
over the last few decades and this has led to longer life expectancy, BUT more needs to be done. Continuing to manage and carefully address the condition is the best way to slash the risk of developing life-threatening complications later on.