Individuals with type 1 diabetes are living longer, study shows

Many people wonder how type 1 diabetes will affect their lives when they are first diagnosed with the disease. Since individuals typically develop the condition during childhood or adolescence, it may be scary or overwhelming for them at first.

However, recent research has shown that type 1 diabetics can live long, healthy lives, especially if they practice good diabetes management.

A study presented at the 71st Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association found that the life expectancy of people with type 1 diabetes has increased substantially over the years.

The results of the 30-year study showed that, on average, individuals diagnosed with type 1 diabetes between 1965 and 1980 lived 15 years longer than those who developed the disease between 1950 and 1964.

"The estimated 15-year life expectancy improvement between the two groups persisted regardless of gender or pubertal status at diagnosis," said lead researcher Trevor J. Orchard, MD.

Furthermore, the mortality rate of individuals who were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes during the earlier time span was more than 35 percent, compared to less than 12 percent for those in later years.

People who have type 1 diabetes must practice diligent diabetes management to help prevent complications that can occur in individuals who do not have any insulin in their bodies.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information states that it is important for newly diagnosed type 1 diabetics to recognize the signs of high or low blood sugar, plan a diabetic diet and learn how to adjust their diabetes medication doses according to variables such as exercise, sickness or travel.

In order to avoid foot damage that can occur in individuals with diabetes, patients should have their feet examined at least two times annually, quit smoking and ensure that they are wearing the right type of shoes, the organization recommends.