The good news, according to a feature on Bloomberg BusinessWeek, is that death rates for Type 1 diabetes are falling; it is not, however, falling fast enough.
A study led by Dr. Trevor J. Orchard, a professor of epidemiology, medicine and pediatrics in the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, noted a significant drop in the mortality rates of people suffering from Type 1 diabetes. The researchers also determined that patients who were diagnosed with the condition in the 70s had a lower mortality rate when compared against those who were diagnosed in the 60s.
Dr. Orchard gave the following comment: “The encouraging thing is that, given good [diabetes] control, you can have a near-normal life expectancy.”
Despite these encouraging statistics, however, the study also found out that the mortality rates for patients suffering from Type 1 are still significantly higher than the general population – a staggering 7 times higher. For certain demographic groups, such as women, for example, the disparity in mortality rates is even more significant: mortality rates for women who have type 1 diabetes are 13 times higher than those of women who are not suffering from the disease.
Patients suffering from Type 1 diabetes produce little or no insulin, so they are forced to rely on insulin replacement therapy all their life. Insulin replacement therapy, however, is not as effective as naturally-produced insulin.
Barbara Araneo director of complications therapies at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, said: “The outcome of this study shows that diabetes care has improved in many ways over the last couple of decades, and as a result people with diabetes are living longer now… Managing and taking good care of your diabetes is the surest way to reduce the risk of developing complications later in life.”