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August 20, 2002


Question from :

My 13 year old girlfriend (who has type 1 diabetes) and I have heard unprofessional opinions on her life line. I have read with a healthy life style he will live an easier life. How long does she have to live?


I am glad that you care about your friend. I don’t know exactly what you mean about getting “unprofessional opinions.” Do mean advice from people other than health care professionals like doctors and nurses?

A healthy life style certainly can allow the person with diabetes to lead an active, healthy life and do things that anyone could do: grow, play sports, have children (and live to see grandchildren), etc, etc. An important medical study called the DCCT looked at how fast bad complications progress in patients with type 1 diabetes, comparing people who had intensive help with their diabetes to patients treated in a more relaxed way. Complications rates slowed way down for the intensively treated patients. Other studies have shown similar outcomes. However, it is important to know that even in the aggressively treated group, the diabetes was not close to “perfect” control.

So it hinges on your friend’s ability to accept her diabetes, follow a meal plan, check her glucose readings and take insulin per her healthcare team’s suggestions. Good for you for wanting to be supportive.