"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

People with type 1 diabetes live longer.

Better blood sugar control stands out as the key to living longer.

Ninety years ago, type 1 diabetes was a death sentence: half of those that developed it died inside two years. More than 90 percent died inside five years. Thanks to the introduction of insulin therapy in 1922, and diverse advances since then, many individuals with type 1 diabetes at the moment are of their 50s and beyond. But survival on this group continues to be shorter than in people without diabetes.

A Scottish study was published this week Jama It shows that at age 20, individuals with type 1 diabetes live a median of 12 years lower than people without it at age 20. A second study in the same issue of Jama It shows that folks with type 1 diabetes live longer than individuals with higher blood sugar control.

Types of diabetes

There are three most important forms of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the cells within the pancreas that make insulin. It often occurs before the age of 20. Insulin is required to get blood sugar (glucose) into cells for energy. Without insulin, glucose builds up within the blood. It damages cells and tissues throughout the body. People with type 1 diabetes have to take insulin through shots or a pump for all times.

Type 2 diabetes Occurs later in life, often in individuals who’re chubby or inactive. It accounts for about 90 percent of all diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes often make enough insulin, a minimum of at first, but their cells don't reply to it. As in type 1 diabetes, glucose builds up within the bloodstream, damaging cells and tissues throughout the body. Type 2 diabetes is initially treated with lifestyle changes comparable to weight reduction, more exercise and a healthy eating regimen. Medicines that make the body more sensitive to insulin and do other things to manage blood sugar may additionally be needed.

Information on diabetes It develops while pregnant, and disappears after birth. About 1 in 20 women develop gestational diabetes.

Living with type 1 diabetes

Insulin generally is a difficult drug to manage. A mismatch between insulin and food intake may cause blood sugar to drop dangerously low (hypoglycaemia). This may cause symptoms comparable to a quick heartbeat or feeling shaky. This may cause diabetic ketoacidosis, during which the body's chemical balance is disturbed because there isn’t enough insulin to maneuver sugar into the cells. Hypoglycemia can result in diabetic coma and even death. In a Scottish study, 21% of deaths in young people (under 50 years of age) with type 1 diabetes resulted from diabetic coma and related causes.

That said, insulin works thoroughly for many individuals with type 1 diabetes. Other the explanation why individuals with type 1 diabetes at the moment are living longer include:

Better insulins can be found, they usually are easier to make use of. Some last all day, others work in a short time. Insulin pumps facilitate the delivery of insulin.

Better ways to trace blood sugar with home glucose monitors and even continuous glucose monitors. Keeping blood sugar near normal is linked to an extended life.

New drugs and other treatments to stop and treat complications of diabetes, comparable to heart disease and kidney disease. Both are leading causes of early death in individuals with type 1 diabetes.

Strict control

the second Jama The study was a long-term follow-up of men and girls who participated within the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial, which ran from 1983 to 1993. Their goal was to maintain hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), a measure of blood sugar control, below 7 percent. (People without diabetes have HbA1c levels of 5% or less.) People assigned to “conventional” blood sugar control averaged 9% HbA1c. After 27 years, participants within the strict control group were less prone to die than those in the standard control group.

This suggests that one solution to improve survival in individuals with type 1 diabetes is tight control. This is sensible, because lower blood sugar means less damage to cells and tissues. But it might probably also mean more brushes with hypoglycemia, which creates its own problems.

Not everyone with diabetes should attempt to closely monitor blood sugar levels. For example, people who find themselves elderly, or frail, or produce other health problems will not be good candidates for tight blood sugar control.

In addition to blood sugar control, keeping cholesterol and blood pressure in a healthy range is significant for diabetics.


In addition to honoring long-term survivors, Joslin is an investigator for the Diabetes Center. Studying them to find out what helped them overcome adversity.. This work, and other research within the United States and around the globe, may help extend the lives of individuals with type 1 diabetes.