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November 18, 2006

Complications

Question from Poplar Grove, Illinois, USA:

I have had diabetes for 51 years. I will be 52 in January 2007. I have NO complications even though my A1c averages 10 and has for years. My weight is 170 pounds and I am 4 feet, 11 inches. I think it's because I got this disease before puberty. But, should I be expecting something to happen to me?

Answer:

It is true that there is a delay in onset of complications if your diabetes began before puberty. However, people have referred to it as a delay and not a protection for a lifetime. You have done extremely well. Your blood sugar control is not as good as your doctors probably want it. For instance, there are guidelines in place that suggest the A1c should be less than 7%. You have lived a long time with diabetes. It is still possible for you to develop eye disease, nerve disease and/or heart disease. However, most people who live over 50 years with type 1 diabetes, and have no evidence for kidney disease, are usually spared the development of kidney failure. In other words, you have lived through the high risk period for developing kidney disease. It will still be important for you to have follow-ups with your doctor and your eye doctor.

JTL