30 Days to a Diabetes-Free Life

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Does type 1 diabetes reduce life expectancy?

By Eve K. Robinson

If properly controlled type 1 diabetes should not affect life expectancy, however individuals with the condition do require a great deal more discipline than those without the disease. On average life expectancy of type 1 sufferers is reduced by up to ten years, and yet the most common cause of reduced life expectancy in those with type 1 diabetes is due to incorrect treatment or insufficient control. With the proper control individuals with the condition can often expect to live a full life.

A normal level of insulin is crucial to allow the body's cells to absorb glucose [found in sweet and starchy foods] thereby maintaining a normal level of blood sugar. Superfluous amounts of glucose in the blood can lead to a damaged cardiovascular system causing permanent blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and in some cases death. If an individual has diabetes insulin levels will have to be controlled artificially.

There are also non-fatal complications that can result from badly controlled diabetes. If the individual develops peripheral vascular disease for instance, serious problems such as gangrene can arise. High glucose levels not only have an effect on arteries, but on the smaller blood vessels too. If these blood vessels are located in the eye, vision impairment can result. One of the most frequent causes of blindness is diabetes.

Problems can be avoided by checking glucose levels regularly and seeking medical advice should any concerns arise. Though diabetes in itself is incurable it is relatively controllable. Type 1 diabetes is controlled by insulin [taken in the form of a daily injection rather than orally due to destructive digestive enzymes] and a strict diet; ensuring a steady level of blood sugar is maintained.

Issues that affect life expectancy in type 1 diabetics are often avoidable when the diabetes is dealt with rather than ignored. Similar to conditions such as asthma or any controllable illness, the sooner the diabetes is diagnosed and the healthier the lifestyle the person leads, the better. The tighter the rein the individual maintains on type 1 diabetes more often than not determines the life expectancy they can look forward to.

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