“Doc, How Long Will I Live With My Type 1 Diabetes?”

Type 1 diabetics diagnosed in childhood and born between 1965 and 1980 have an average life expectancy of 68.8 years.  That compares to a lifespan average of 53.4 years for those born between 1950 and 1964.  The figures are based on Pittsburgh, PA, residents and published in a recent issue of Diabetes.

Elizabeth Hughes, one of the very first users of insulin injections, lived to be 73.  She started on insulin around 1922.

Average overall life expectancy in the U.S. is 78.2 years—roughly 76 for men and 81 for women.

Don’t be too discouraged if you have diabetes: you have roughly a 50:50 chance of beating the averages, and medical advances will continue to lengthen lifespan.

Steve Parker, M.D.

1 Comment

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One response to ““Doc, How Long Will I Live With My Type 1 Diabetes?”

  1. frank weir

    Dr. Parker: There’s a fantastic book about Elizabeth Hughes and about the Canadian physicians who developed insulin called “Breakthrough: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Miracle,” by Cooper and Ainsberg. Anyone with an interest in history and/or diabetes will find it fascinating. I could not put it down once I started reading. The book ALSO will show how ridiculous and forgetful medical authorities have become about low carb eating. That was the ONLY way children had any chance to survive with type 1 diabetes before insulin. But it was a gamble and many children literally starved to death on the Allen Starvation Diet. But not cutting carbs meant a slow but certain and horrible death within 13 months or so of diagnosis. With that history, it just confuses me how currently physicians and dietitians act as if diabetics are risking their health by not eating at least 200 to 300 carbs a day. There’s no need for that amount and it is certain to require more medication or insulin to get all that processed by the body and complications are far more likely. The parents of my grand nephew, diagnosed recently at age 13 with type 1, was told he needed to cut carbs: “only” 75 A MEAL would be allowed. 225 a day exclusive of snacks….ridiculous…they better stock up on the insulin. He’ll need it eating that many a day for the rest of his life.