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Type 1 Diabetes and Life Expectancy: A Health Care Guideline

type 1 diabetes life expectancy

Most people are in a state of shock when first given a diabetes diagnosis, regardless of whether it is type 1 diabetes or they are concerned with the life expectancy associated with any other diabetes type. However, having a diabetes diagnosis and being curious about its life expectancy doesn’t stop you from living a “normal” life. Many people who are diagnosed with diabetes go on to have a variety of experiences. The majority of patients receive excellent care from their doctor and the rest of the medical staff, but some claim they were only handed some pills and asked to continue their treatment. If this occurs to you, make sure your doctor makes time to talk to you about your illness or suggests another provider who can respond to your questions more effectively.

In the United States, 34.2 million individuals of all ages, or nearly 1 in 10, have diabetes. A little less than 3% of all individuals in the United States, or around 7.3 million people, are ignorant that they have diabetes. As people get older, more people are getting diabetes diagnoses. About 1 in 4 people (about 26% of those over 65) has diabetes.

What is meant by having diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition of metabolism in which your body produces more sugar or glucose than usual. The word “hyperglycemia” is used to indicate an abundance of glucose in your blood. Blood sugar levels that are too high can be extremely harmful, which could affect life expectancy associated with diabetes, endangering your organs severely and raising your chance of various health issues, including cardiovascular disease.

The hormone insulin controls blood sugar levels by regulating the body’s ability to convert glucose into energy.

diabetes doctors

Types of diabetes:

In type 1 diabetes, the immune response targets the cells that make insulin, preventing the body from using blood glucose for energy.

In type 2 diabetes, the system either produces insufficient insulin or the body’s cells become insensitive, and this is what is called insulin resistance.

How much longer life expectancy can be expected as a result of diabetes?

Diabetes was present in 37.3 million Americans in 2019, or 11.3% of the population. Type 1 diabetes affects approximately 1.9 million Americans, including around 244,000 children and teens. The life expectancy of people with type 1 diabetes has historically been reported to be shortened by more than 20 years.

However, advances in diabetes management over the past few decades suggest that those with type 1 diabetes now live noticeably longer.

Type 1 diabetes risk factors include

  • Having a parent or sibling who has type 1 diabetes is
  • A pancreatic injury
  • Autoantibodies, or antibodies that erroneously target the tissues or organs of your own body, are present.
  • Physical adversity
  • Exposure to virus-based diseases

Why do most people with diabetes have a lower life expectancy than the rest of us?

Uncontrolled blood sugar levels over time can result in a number of short-and long-term consequences.

These consist of:

  • A form of eye condition known as diabetic retinopathy often affects people’s life expectancy who have lived with diabetes for a long period of time. High blood glucose levels harm the blood vessels in the retina located at the back of the eyes, which can result in blindness in certain cases and visual loss.
  • Diabetic nephropathy, or kidney disease in people with diabetes, is a popular term. Nephropathy, which results from damaged blood vessels in the kidneys and renders the organs incapable of removing waste from the circulation, affects around 40% of people with diabetes. You may experience renal failure and need kidney transplantation or dialysis if the illness worsens.
  • People with diabetes often have cardiovascular disease or heart disease because of the blood flow problems brought on by hyperglycemia, the way diabetes may affect a person’s life expectancy. Angina (chest discomfort), heart attacks, and strokes can all be caused by heart disease. Associated conditions like these are frequently seen in patients with higher blood sugar levels.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • High triglycerides
  • Short-term consequences like diabetic ketoacidosis and hypoglycemia can sometimes even be deadly.

How you may increase your life expectancy associated with diabetes care and management

  • The key to extending the life associated with diabetes care is to maintain appropriate blood glucose management.
  • By maintaining the ideal blood glucose levels for someone who has diabetes, you can reduce your risk of complications from having excessive glucose in your blood.
  • At least the recommended blood glucose levels as suggested by your doctor or endocrinologist.
  • Practicing a healthy lifestyle and eating diabetes-friendly foods also helps you keep your condition under better control.
  • Because carbohydrates have a substantial influence on your blood glucose levels, a reduced carbohydrate diet can assist in improving blood sugar consistency in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. A low-carb diet has even been credited with putting type 2 diabetes into remission for certain people.

Why do those people with type 1 diabetes have shorter life expectancies?

Those with type 1 diabetes are more likely than those with type 2 to get it earlier in life. As a result, people often live longer with the illness and its associated problems. Recent studies have also demonstrated that diabetes complications are now better managed and the illness is now simpler to identify sooner thanks to technological developments and innovations in diabetes treatment.

Is type 2 diabetes less dangerous compared to type 1?

Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes frequently develops more slowly. As a result, type 2 diabetes (and other kinds of diabetes) may not be discovered in patients until years after they first exhibit symptoms. However, type 2 diabetes may only be discovered after other health issues start to show symptoms.

Medical appointments and follow-ups:

Each year, people with diabetes should have a number of significant health examinations. It is crucial that these examinations be performed once a year. Children under the age of 12 are an exception, as they often do not require testing for retinopathy (eye disease), nephropathy (kidney damage), or neuropathy (nerve damage).

See Also: Diabetes and Blurry Vision: Causes and Concerns

Bottom line:

Diabetes of type 1 is an immune system disorder with a hereditary component. Traditional therapies cannot reverse this form of diabetes. To survive, you need insulin all the time in your life to increase the life expectancy associated with diabetes of type 1. In general, you must see your physician at least every three to four months if you are receiving insulin injections for your condition. If you are taking medication or controlling your diabetes with food, you should see a doctor at least every four to six months. If your blood glucose is not under control or if diabetes problems are getting worse, you might need to see your doctor more frequently.

Family Medicine Austin

Written by Jeannette

I am Jeannette, the medical writing specialist here at Family Medicine Austin. I have over five years of experience working with a range of medical and healthcare across the U.S.