Advances in treatment allow type 1 diabetics to live longer lives

Treatments for type 1 diabetes have come a long way in recent years, and this has enabled individuals with the condition to live much longer, healthier lives than would have been possible in the past.

Annette Richardson-Bienkowski, a resident of New London, Connecticut is a good example of this. She told Ledyard Patch that she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a few years after World War II at the age of 18. At the time of her diagnosis, the doctors informed her that she had one day to live.

Shortly after this grim prognosis, the medical professionals treating her upgraded her life expectancy by another 15 to 20 years. Still, she has gone on to far exceed these expectations. She is currently 72 years old and showing no signs of slowing down.

Each year, Richardson-Bienkowski participates in the Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes event, a three-mile walk to raise money for diabetes research.

She told the news source that treatments for type 1 diabetes have made significant strides during the time she has dealt with the disease. In the early days she would use the same needle over and over again for insulin injections. Today, she uses an insulin pump to deliver precise amounts of her medication exactly when she needs it.

These types of advancements in medications and delivery systems are largely responsible for the significant gains in life expectancy for type 1 diabetics. A recent study from researchers at the University of Pittsburgh showed that the average lifespan of a diabetic between 1965 and 1980 was 68.8 years. This is a 15-year improvement over the average life expectancy from 1950 to 1964.

There may still be many challenges associated with type 1 diabetes, but these can be overcome more easily than at any time in the past. This is allowing diabetics to live longer, more fulfilling lives than ever.