Until the early years of the last century, most children with diabetes slipped into fatal comas within a few months of developing the disease.1 Insulin's introduction in 1922 and improvements in care over the last 20 to 30 years – including home blood glucose testing, earlier detection and improved management of complications – transformed the prognosis for type 1 diabetes (T1D).
A new paper reported that life expectancy at 20 years of age for T1D patients in Scotland is still more than a decade shorter than the general population's.2 Meanwhile, Diabetes UK's recent State of the Nation report noted that 'some people with diabetes' including those with T1D receive 'considerably worse routine care than other people with diabetes' leaving them at risk of serious complications, disability and premature death.3
Previous estimates of the loss of life expectancy in people with T1D ranged from 20 to 27 years. The new study sampled 24,691 people and so provides 'estimates that reflect actual contemporary death rates'. During the study, which ran from 2008 to 2010, 1043 people died.2
For 20 year olds with T1D, life expectancy was a further 46.2 years, compared to 57.3 years for men without diabetes. So, T1D reduced lif