Life Expectancy With Type 1 Diabetes

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Diabetes Mellitus Life Expectancy, Diabetes Prognosis

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Medically reviewed by Do-Eun Lee, MD

Before the medical advancement of insulin therapy, type 1 diabetes was fatal, with 50% of people dying within two years and 90% within five years of diagnosis. However, that is no longer the case. People with type 1 diabetes can now live over 50 years. Further, proper treatment, care, and lifestyle choices can contribute to a good quality of life.

This article explains the average life expectancy for people with type 1 diabetes and highlights its contributing factors.

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Does Type 1 Diabetes Shorten Life Expectancy

Even though medical advancements have improved outcomes for people with type 1 diabetes, the disease still shortens life expectancy by about 12 years. The average life expectancy for people with type 1 diabetes is reduced from 77 to 66 for men and 81 to 68 for women.

People with type 1 diabetes can increase their chances of living longer by managing their condition and preventing heart disease, kidney disease, and other complications related to type 1 diabetes.

Related: Type 1 Diabetes Facts and Statistics: What You Need to Know

Contributing Factors

Various factors can affect the life expectancy of people with type 1 diabetes. You can increase life expectancy by closely monitoring blood glucose levels and maintaining levels between 70 and 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) before meals and below 180 mg/dL after meals. Smoking and being overweight, on the other hand, decrease life expectancy among people with type 1 diabetes.

Heart attacks and strokes are common complications and the leading causes of death among people with type 1 diabetes. Complications often compound, so managing the disease can help reduce your risk. You can reduce risk by keeping the following in check: :

Related: How High Blood Sugar Affects Your Cholesterol Level

Living a Long Life With Type 1 Diabetes

Living a long, healthy life with type 1 diabetes involves making healthy lifestyle decisions related to managing diabetes. Lifestyle behaviors that help increase life expectancy and health with diabetes include:

For diabetes treatment, it is important to learn how to balance blood sugar levels with medications taken by mouth and insulin. Additionally, preventing complications of diabetes can significantly impact increasing life expectancy.

Some complications of type 1 diabetes include:

Preventing these and other complications of diabetes can help increase your life expectancy and overall health. These complications can be controlled with physical activity, healthy foods, not smoking, and managing stress.

Unique Factors in Men and Women

Women with type 1 diabetes live three or four years longer than men with diabetes, while those without type 1 diabetes live five to seven years longer. When comparing people with type 1 diabetes, women are more likely than men to have fatal complications such as cardiovascular events.


Type 1 diabetes is a long-term health condition that can decrease life expectancy even though medical advances such as insulin therapy have improved outcomes. Uncontrolled blood glucose levels and related health complications can reduce life expectancy among people with type 1 diabetes. Despite the risks of this disease, people with type 1 diabetes can live long, healthy lives.