Diabetes and life expectancy
A 2014 report published in the CDC website on diabetes statistics in the United States mentions that 9.3 % of the U.S population (approximately 29.1 million) has diabetes. In this 5% is accounted for by the Type 1 variety of diabetes. The rest belong to the Type 2 category. Another far more alarming fact is that death from diabetes and related complications are much more than that of AIDS and breast cancer combined in the United States. In general the life expectancy of a person with diabetes is said to be less than that of a non-diabetic by about 6 years. Even in this Type 1 diabetes life expectancy is said to be even lower by a decade or so.
Type 1 diabetes is not preventable as it is mostly related to genetic, ethnic, autoimmune and few other environmental or geographic factors. That makes it even more difficult to understand about life expectancy of Type 1 diabetes. Medical and technological advances have contributed to the life expectancy increasing slightly over the years of study. However a lot depends on early diagnosis and prescribed treatment to manage the disease and related complications.
Type 1 diabetes life expectancy inputs
A report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that even in the life expectancy type 1 diabetes there is variation based on gender. It states that men lose about 11 years of their life whereas women tend to lose the life expectancy by 13 years or so.
A major factor affecting the life expectancy is heart and related issues that occur as a result of diabetes complications. However other factors like dangerously low blood sugar levels and conditions like ketoacidosis resulting from no insulin in the body, also contribute to the diabetes life expectancy factors. Studies have noted that people who undergo intensive diabetes management are better off and may live longer.
There is hope
In all this statistics something that should provide cheer is the fact that across the years the life expectancy of Type 1 diabetics has steadily gone up. Way back in 1897, it used to be one or four years post diagnosis. But once insulin was discovered this went up drastically. There are still people out there who die under 50 years of age from Type 1 diabetes and related complications despite the insulin therapy and other medications.
A University of Pittsburgh study published in 2012 puts the life expectancy of type 1 diabetics at 69 years. When you compare this with the general life expectancy of 76 years for men and 81 years for women in the United States, this doesn’t seem so bad after all. And it has been an established fact that with a healthy, proper diet, regular exercise and good diabetes management, this can be pulled further.
People are more prone to believing things when they see proof. And proof on this case comes in the form of Dr. Richard Bernstein who at the young age of 12 was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in the year 1946. Today he is still going strong at 82 years of age and what’s more is, he is firm exponent of diabetes related treatment.
His book Diabetes Solution talks about his revolutionary blood sugar normalization method that he used to treat himself with. His method is mostly based on good nutrition, healthy exercise, and small doses of medication when and where required. If you are a Type 1 diabetic worrying about your life expectancy, then it is time to stop worrying and grab a copy of this book and look up information on Dr. Richard Bernstein. That should certainly put you on the right path to live long.
A WebMD article states that 36% of men and 31% of women from among the Type 1 diabetic’s life expectancy loss was due to the heart disease. It is therefore in the interests of a diabetic to take care of the heart. It is a known fact that diabetes thickens blood vessels and thus affects blood circulation and in turn blood pressure. This leads to further complications and people end up with cardio vascular diseases.
The article further states that for all the people under 50 who lost their lives it was due to complications arising from diabetes. These complications may be cardio vascular, retinopathy, kidney related, hypoglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis etc. High blood sugar levels are often accompanied with high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels as well. Both these conditions hamper blood circulation which is essential for all body organs to work correctly. Hence in a diabetic, the issues with the blood circulation leads to complications with your eye like retinopathy, heart diseases, kidney issues and nerve damage.
How to manage life expectancy?
Type 1 diabetes is also called juvenile diabetes because it is usually diagnosed in childhood itself or in teens or early adulthood. It therefore goes without saying that Type 1 diabetics would have to live with the disease longer and for the rest of their lives. The matter is further complicated when we realize that it can neither be prevented nor is there any known cure for this condition as yet. A lot of studies and research is still going on in the direction of understanding why this occurs in the first place.
If research is able to figure out why the immune system of the body attacks the pancreas making it secrete either no or less insulin, we may be able to move in the right direction. But then many other factors contribute to the condition too. So it’s not easy to find that one cure. It is therefore better to adopt the policy of Dr. Richard Bernstein to ensure that you live a good healthy long life despite the Type 1 diabetes.
What can you do?
- Constant monitoring of blood sugar levels and intensive maintenance of the same
- Maintain healthy lifestyle
- Adapt and stick to a well-balanced, healthy diet
- Regular exercise as part of the daily routine
- Constant check-ups to offset any complications as a result of the diabetes
Knowing one’s disease and its implications and what one can do to counter it is a major victory in itself as proved by Dr. Richard Bernstein. So get armed and stay one step ahead and live long to tell the tale!