According to a study published on bmj.com, alcohol has become an important cause of death among patients with type-1 diabetes since the 1980s. The study also reveals, that early onset type 1 diabetes survival rates between the ages of 0 to 14 years have improved with time, whilst survival of patients with late onset type1 diabetes between the ages of 15 to 29 years has deteriorated since the 1980s.
Put simply, those who developed type 1 diabetes early on in life are living longer today than thirty years ago, while those who developed the condition later are not.
Type1 diabetes is still linked to premature death caused by acute and chronic complications, despite significant advances in diabetes care. The authors explained that not many studies have looked at mortality trends comparing early and late onset diabetes.
Researchers in Finland decided to compare short and long-term time trends in mortality by evaluating 17,306 patients who have been diagnosed with type1 diabetes. All participants were no more than thirty years of age between 1970 and 1999. They also examined the causes of death over time. The follow up period for participants was for an average of 21 years.
They found that from during the 1970-2007 period, early onset patients' survival improved. The authors say this is because there were fewer chronic diabetes complications during the disease's initial 20 years.
However, short and long term mortality among late onset patients worsened over the same period. The authors explain that the main reason was an increase in drug and alcohol related mortality, as well as acute diabetes complications.
39% of deaths among late onset patients were due to alcohol and drug related causes.
"This highlights the importance of permanent and long lasting doctor-patient relationships, close supervision, and guidance on the short term and long term effects of alcohol in young people with type 1 diabetes, especially in our alcohol permissive cultures."
Written by Petra Rattue