Alcoholism & Addiction

Alcohol-Related Deaths Among People with Type 1 Diabetes

People with Type 1 diabetes often have many health complications, with acute or chronic conditions potentially leading to death. However, with medical advances and new technology, there has been much improvement in both the quality of life and the physical health of those suffering from Type 1 diabetes.

A study conducted in Finland sought to understand the discrepancies between advances made among those with Type 1 diabetes, or those diagnosed early in life, and the worsening survival rate among those whose diabetes was diagnosed later.

The study’s findings reveal that alcohol has become a significant cause of death among those with Type 1 diabetes in the last three decades. In addition, the early onset Type 1 diabetes survival rates of those diagnosed during earlier childhood have gotten better over the years. By contrast, those diagnosed in later childhood and early adulthood, from 15 and 29 years, have gotten worse in the past 30 years.

In other words, those who were diagnosed early with Type 1 diabetes have seen a significant increase in survival rates, while those diagnosed later have seen a decline in survival rates.

Despite many advances in diabetes care, Type 1 diabetes is still associated with a short lifespan, often caused by acute or chronic complications. This is the first study to present information about the contrast between diabetes diagnosed early and later in life.

The researchers recruited 17,306 patients diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. The subjects were all under 30 years old between 1970 and 1999. Over a time frame of approximately 21 years, the researchers examined the causes of death.

From 1970 to 2007, early onset patients experienced a significant improvement in survival rates, but the researchers explain that this is due to fewer chronic problems caused by diabetes during the first 20 years after diagnosis of the disease.

However, among patients who were diagnosed later, mortality went up over time, with acute and chronic problems worsening for these patients. The authors attribute the mortality rates to involvement with drugs and alcohol, in addition to acute diabetes complications.

In fact, the authors of the study report that 39 percent of deaths among patients diagnosed in later childhood or early adulthood were due to drug- and alcohol-related causes.

The authors of the study believe that the study’s findings highlight the value of strong relationships between doctor and patient, including communication and guidance as the patient enters the years when drugs and alcohol may present themselves as one of the issues the diabetic must face.

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