Life expectancy for US children with type 1 diabetes has increased by 15 years

by Sarita Sheth on August 16, 2012

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults

The life expectancy of children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes has increased by 15 years, according to a study carried out in the United States at the University of Pittsburgh.

The dramatic increase was found after the research team compared life expectancy of a group diagnosed in the years 1950 to 1964 with a group diagnosed between 1965 and 1980.

The life expectancy for participants diagnosed with type 1 diabetes between 1965 and 1980 was 68.8 years, a 15 year improvement, compared to those diagnosed between 1950 and 1964, according to the study.

Meanwhile, the life expectancy of the general US population increased less than one year during the same time period.

‘The estimated 15 year life expectancy improvement between the two groups persisted regardless of gender or age at diagnosis,’ said Rachel Miller, statistician at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and lead author of the study.

The results are based on participants in the Pittsburgh Epidemiology of Diabetes Complications (EDC) study, a long term prospective study of childhood onset type 1 diabetes, which began in 1986.

Previously known as juvenile diabetes, type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces little or no insulin to properly control blood sugar levels. It is typically treated with insulin replacement therapy.

Participants, who were an average age of 28 when entering the study and 44 at its completion, were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes between 1950 and 1980.

Type 1 diabetes mortality rates are known to have decreased over time, but recent life expectancy estimates for those diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the United States are lacking, Trevor Orchard, senior author and professor of epidemiology, pediatrics and medicine at the University of Pittsburgh pointed out.

‘Therefore, we estimated life expectancy of the EDC study cohort and were impressed to see such an improvement. It is a tribute to how modern day treatment has dramatically changed the outlook for those with childhood onset type 1 diabetes,’ he explained.

The 30 year mortality of participants diagnosed with type 1 diabetes from 1965 to 1980 was 11.6%, a significant decline from the 35.6% 30 year mortality of those diagnosed between 1950 and 1964, according to the study.


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.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ivan June 6, 2018 at 8:18 am

Well no need to push TYPE1 cure research.

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Ivan June 6, 2018 at 8:23 am

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