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Good news for Type 1 Diabetics: Life expectancy has improved dramatically

September 4, 2012 in News

According to the results of a study recently published in the journal Diabetes, the life expectancy for those diagnosed with type 1 diabetes has saw a huge jump over the last half of the 20th century.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh compared data on two groups of participants diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before age 17. The first group were diagnosed with diabetes between 1950 and 1964. The second group received their diagnosis between 1965 and 1980.

Each of these groups were followed through December 31, 2009. Researchers collected information on any deaths that occurred within the participant population, and compared the average age at which participants in the first group died with the average ages at which the participants in the second died.

The researchers found that individuals diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before age 17 between 1965 and 1980 lived an average of 15 years longer than their counterparts diagnosed in the 15 years previous. Those diagnosed between 1950 and 1964 lived an average of 53.4 years; those diagnosed in the following years lived an average of 68.8 years.

The difference in life expectancy did not change when the researchers looked at the gender of the participants, or when they compared the stage of puberty at which participants were diagnosed.

These findings are great news for persons with type 1 diabetes in an of themselves, and suggest that advances in healthcare are paying off for those managing the disease. The researchers pointed out that their results also have another important implication; insurance costs.

The study authors pointed out that this dramatic increase in life expectancy support the need for insurance companies to reopen a discussion about premiums for those with type 1 diabetes. Most of the analyses that insurance companies currently use to weight premiums come from older assessments of life expectancy. According to the University of Pittsburgh team, these assessments are well out of date.

You can access the original news brief through Health News’ Physician’s Briefing.


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