Life Expectancy in Insulin Dependent Diabetes Explained

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What Determines the Life Expectancy in Insulin Dependent Diabetes?

Studies have suggested that the life expectancy in insulin dependent diabetes may depend on the age of the patient at the onset of diabetes and various complications that may arise with people who are diagnosed with insulin dependent diabetes, also known as type 1 diabetes. Furthermore, the studies also suggest that gender, family history and ethnicity might be a factor in life expectancy as well.

What are Some Specific Findings for the Life Expectancy in Insulin Dependent Diabetes Studies?

According to studies relating to the life expectancy in insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), most deaths occur in the middle and late adulthood, well after the diagnosis of diabetes was made.

Age of Onset: Studies suggest that 15 percent of people who experience the onset of insulin dependent diabetes during their childhood years die by the time they are 40 years old. The leading cause of death during the childhood years is acute coma. In the middle age years renal failure or renal disease is the dominate factor. After the age of thirty years, cardiovascular disease counts for two-thirds of deaths in insulin dependent patients, therefore this finding shows that age does affect the life expectancy in insulin dependent diabetes. Cardiovascular and renal disease death has been strongly linked to patients who are insulin dependent. The findings also indicated that regardless of the age that a person is diagnosed with diabetes, life expectancy is reduced by at least 15 years compared to the normal population.

Gender: In the younger age groups, females have a higher mortality rate than males. In the older age groups, males have higher mortality rates. This has been linked to higher risk for ischemic heart disease in men. The overall mortality ratio is 29.6 for males and 14.6 for females. Gender does play a role in life expectancy in insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM).

Ethnic: It has been determined by the studies that IDDM African Americans die at a higher rate than in the white population. The mortality rates is 9.7 for the African Americans and 7.1 for whites.

Family History: It has been suggested by the studies, those fathers of individuals who have died of diabetes die at a younger age than fathers who have living relatives with the disease. Siblings of deceased diabetic people have a higher risk to die prematurely. This suggests that family history does play a part of premature death in relatives even beyond that of diabetes.

How Does this Condition Affect Life Expectancy?

Life expectancy in insulin dependent diabetes mellitus IDDM is affected by the complications that often arise in diabetic patients. Because of the high risk of complications that often arise with this condition; heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, high blood pressure have a significant effect on the life expectancy of insulin dependent diabetic individuals. Diabetic nephropathy is the real indicator of whether diabetes will shorten a patient’s life expectancy. The disease may shorten lifespan by 7 to 10 years. Over the last 20 years there has been progress due to the use of home testing glucose monitors. Insulin pumps and several new types of insulin have also contributed to better monitoring and treatment. In the next generation more accurate information may be known on how life expectancy has changed.

It is also important to factor in that some diabetics may also have other underlining medical conditions that can add or magnify the symptoms that individuals with this disease experience.

On A Special Note

The diabetes mortality rate as determined by the American Diabetes Association and National Center for Disease Control released in the Mortality data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS 2007) places diabetes as the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. However, these statistics are based on all types of diabetes, not just limited to life expectancy in insulin dependent diabetes. The facts remain that people who are insulin dependent diabetes are at risk of death twice that of people who do not have diabetes and are of similar age.


American Diabetes Association, American Medical Association, retrieved on November 9, 2010 from diabetes statistics.

Center for Disease control

National Institute Of Diabetic and Digestive and Kidney Disease

Thieme eJournals

Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes 1984; 83(1): 93-100

DOI: 10.1055/s-0029-1210316