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Life expectancy improvements for people with Type 1 diabetes

Life expectancy improvements for people with Type 1 diabetes - Featured Image

A team of Endocrinologists say that despite the incidence of Type 1 diabetes having doubled in the last 20 years, there is significantly improved life expectancy for sufferers.

Prof Peter Colman, Dr Mervyn Kyi and a team at the Royal Melbourne Hospital wrote about their findings in a clinical focus in the Medical Journal of Australia.

They wrote that new technologies, such as more convenient blood glucose meters with built-in bolus dose calculators, smartphone applications, insulin pumps, continuous glucose-monitoring systems and closed-loop insulin systems have helped patients better manage their condition.

They also said that trials such as using type 2 diabetes medications to help reduce cardiovascular disease in T1D are underway and transplantation of the pancreas or the islets of Langerhans are being performed at hospitals in Sydney and Melbourne.

Related: The imperative to prevent diabetes complications: a broadening spectrum and an increasing burden despite improved outcomes

Kyi and colleagues are hopeful that one day the disease might be able to be prevented.

“The ability to predict T1D on the basis of genetic, immunological and metabolic markers has provided opportunities for prevention at different preclinical stages”, they noted. “Much attention has focused on interventions at diagnosis and in the preclinical antibody positive stage,” they wrote.

Despite the advancements, they said that type 1 diabetes is still associated with considerable premature mortality.

They commented that: “T1D is still associated with considerable premature mortality caused by acute and chronic complications, particularly ischaemic heart disease.

“Recent reports of improved life expectancy … nonetheless provide great hope for persons with T1D and their clinicians”, they concluded.

Read the full report in the Medical Journal of Australia.