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January 22, 2000

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Question from Steubenville, Ohio, USA:

I have a family member who is now 19 years old and has type 1 diabetes all his life. I was wondering what kind of effects type 1 diabetes has on life span. What are the effects of having diabetes all his life down the road?

Answer:

A very good question. We do not know for sure what his life expectancy is, but with good blood glucose control and seeing his diabetes team for regular visits, his life expectancy should be almost the same as someone without diabetes.

Keep in mind that the world of diabetes is changing so rapidly that there may be a cure or new medications to prevent complications from diabetes just around the bend, so these are exciting times. I know of many folks with diabetes of over 30 years duration and several who have had the disease for over 50 years (all of whom developed the disease at a young age) and they have no problems from the diabetes. Anyway, please offer your support to this young man.

LSF