Having children increases length of life for type 1 diabetics

by Barbara Hewitt on September 27, 2013

Women with type 1 diabetics who have children live longer than those who do not have any natural offspring, new research has found.

A team of scientists at the University of Helsinki and National Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland have found that having children lowers the risk of death in people with type 1 diabetes, especially women.


Scientists have found that having children lowers the risk of death in people with type 1 diabetes, especially women

After looking at the effect of having offspring, they also discovered that in general, the more children a person had, the lower their risk of death, but this trend was less pronounced for men than for women.

‘In women, having offspring was associated with lower mortality in a similar way, regardless of the diabetes status. One possible reason for this gender difference is that women with type 1 diabetes are trained and motivated to achieve better metabolic control during pregnancy and that this motivation may persist also postpartum,’ she explained.

The study looked at mortality and causes of death among patients with childhood onset type 1 diabetes compared to those without the disease, with a particular focus on mortality differences between parents and people without children.

Previous research has shown that type 1 diabetes is associated with increased mortality compared with the general population, from both acute and long term diabetic complications. Other previous research has shown that mortality in the general population is higher among women and men who do not have any offspring than among those who have children. Both men and women with childhood onset type 1 diabetes have fewer offspring than the general population.

To find out more, researchers analysed and compared data from almost 5,200 people in Finland who were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 17 or younger between 1965 and 1979 with a control group of twice as many people without diabetes.

During the follow up some 1,025 people with type 1 diabetes and 497 non-diabetics in the control group died. Compared with men and women in the control group, death from all causes was three times higher among men with diabetes and nearly five times greater among women with the disease.

Overall, mortality is much higher in men than in women. However, for people with diabetes the mortality differences between men and women were less pronounced than among the controls, the researchers found.

The study findings were presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Barcelona, Spain.




The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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