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No change in life expectancy gap between type 1 diabetes patients and the general population

No change in life expectancy gap between type 1 diabetes patients and the general population

Publication date: Friday, 13 May 2016
Contributor(s): Jeremy Bray

Two new studies show there has been no decrease in the gap in life expectancy between people living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and the general population over the past few decades.

The first study examined the life expectancy of type 1 diabetic patients in Australia from 1997 to 2010.  During these years patients with T1D had an estimated life expectancy at birth of 68.6 years, which was 12.2 years less than the general population (11.6 years less for men and 12.5 years less for women).

Although life expectancy improved for patients with T1D over the course of the study, very similar improvements were also seen in the general population. The major contribution to years of life lost (YLL) was mortality from endocrine and metabolic disease at age 10–39 years (men, 39–59%; women, 35–50%) and from circulatory disease at age >40 years (men, 43–75%; women, 34–75%). The authors said, “These results are likely to be applicable to other similar Western countries.”

The second study explored the life expectancy of people with T1D in Sweden. For men with T1D, the remaining life expectancy at age 20 increased significantly by about 2 years (from 47.7 in 2002–06 to 49.7 years in 2007–11). For women with type 1 diabetes there was no significant change (LE at age 20 of 51.7 years in 2002–06 and 51.9 years in 2007–11). The life expectancy gap between patients with T1D and the general population did not change over this time frame (approximately 11 years for men and 12 years for women). The authors concluded, “There is still some way to go in terms of improvement in care for those with type 1 diabetes in order to close the gap with the general population.”


Greater attention must be paid to both the acute metabolic and chronic cardiovascular complications of type 1 diabetes otherwise patients will continue to be at risk of premature mortality.

Huo L et al. Diabetologia 2016, online 21 January.

Petrie D et al. Diabetologia 2016, online 5 April 2016.

Topics covered:
Category: Evidence in Practice
Edition: Volume 1, Number 5, BJPCN Online 2016
Contributor(s): Jeremy Bray

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