Type 1 Diabetes deaths have decreased by over 60% in recent decades
Information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States, shows that, over the past 40 years, the mortality rate among children and adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes, has decreased by 61% and more than 75% among children under 10. The reasons why this has happened should define the path we need to take to completely eliminate deaths in children and young adults with Type 1 Diabetes.
By Joe Cardozo
According to researchers at the Center for Disease Control (CDC), which searched the National Vital Statistics System of the United States, for the number of deaths caused by Type 1 Diabetes during the 1968 and 2009 period, found that there was a considerable decrease in this mortality rate, which varied according to the age range of the children and adolescents affected.
While the mortality rate decreased by 78% in the under 10 group, this percentage only decreased by 52% in the 10-19 age group.
Type 1 Diabetes is usually diagnosed during childhood and adolescence, although in many cases it’s also diagnosed in adulthood and is a serious condition where beta cells are attacked and destroyed by T cells from the immune system, which is why they can’t produce insulin anymore making blood glucose levels rise to extremely high levels.
To avoid this, people with Type 1 Diabetes need to get daily insulin injections, maintain a proper nutritional regimen, physical activity and frequently monitor their blood sugar levels to maintain them within the normal range (70-110 mg/dl). Thus they’ll also keep their Hemoglobin A1c well under control (less than 7%) and be able to prevent the occurrence of the dreaded chronic complications associated with poorly controlled Diabetes, which can develop over several years, representing an important factor the increased incidence of partial or total disability and premature death cases among those affected. This research didn’t take into account mortality rate as a consequence of chronic complications, because it used information from children and adolescents under 19.
What can cause death in children and adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes?
The goal in controlling Type 1 Diabetes is to maintain blood glucose levels within the normal range (70-110 mg/dl) for as long as possible to avoid the dangerous situations that may arise if these levels are below the normal range (hypoglycemia) or rise well above the normal range (hyperglycemia). If blood glucose levels rise above 240 mg/dl, this can lead to a very dangerous situation called ketoacidosis, also known as “diabetic coma”.
Both Hypoglycemia and Ketoacidosis can cause serious problems and even death, although ironically, both can be resolved relatively easily, if those affected know how to recognize the symptoms and know the techniques and procedures they need to follow to resolve both situations as soon possible.
So… How did mortality rate decrease?
This considerable drop in the number of deaths from Type 1 Diabetes among children and adolescents, occurred despite an increase in new cases of this disease in recent years. It is estimated that in 2010 there were more than 215,000 children and adolescents under 19 with type 1 Diabetes in the United States.
Among the main reasons for which mortality rate has decreased considerably for Type 1 Diabetes over the past decades are:
- Development of new insulins including ultra fast, fast, intermediate and basal action insulin.
- Development of insulins that reduce the risk of hypoglycemia, especially at night.
- New insulin administration methods such as injection pens and insulin pumps.
- New and more accurate systems for monitoring blood glucose.
- Development of Glucagon kits and glucose tablets to counteract hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.
- Increased number of sources of information and education on Diabetes.
To further reduce the number of deaths that senselessly occur due to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar episodes, it’s very important that friends and relatives of children and adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes, as well as school staff, can recognize their symptoms and what to do if it occurs. Thus, many deaths can be avoided due to this because the people around them know how to counteract hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels.
In Diabetes Up to Date you’ll find all the information you need to stay healthy
At Diabetes Up to Date we are committed to fight tirelessly to try to completely eliminate the possibility that someone with Diabetes can die from low blood sugar or ketoacidosis. In these times of huge technological advances and easier access to sources of education, it is absurd that we are still witnessing deaths due to something that could be prevented if those affected and their relatives had known what to do and had done it. That’s why, through our content you’ll find complete information about everything related to Hypoglycemia and Ketoacidosis, as well as all of the aspects of Diabetes, its complications and risk factors so that everyone can enjoy a healthier, more productive and happier life.
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