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From Richmond, Virginia, USA:

My friend has had diabetes Type 1 for 25 years, since she was 4. The other day I overheard someone say that juvenile diabetes patients do not usually live past thirty. Is this true? What is the average life expectancy of a person with Type 1 diabetes? I know no one ever knows, but having a general idea may help me to plan for future needs.


It is almost impossible to give an accurate figure for life expectancy in someone who has had diabetes for twenty years because of the overriding impact of the degree of blood glucose control over that period. If your friend has been in excellent control as judged by growth, blood sugars and hemoglobin A1c levels and has no evidence of any of the common complications like retinal problems, peripheral neuropathy or microalbuminuria, then there is no reason not to plan for an essentially normal life span, certainly for many years after 30. If any of these significant problems already exist, then the prognosis would have to be more guarded and you would have to talk to the doctor involved to get a more specific estimate. Even if significant long term complications are already present, the ability to contain them improves every year so there should be no giving up of hope.


Original posting 23 Jun 1999
Posted to Complications


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:04
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