London: Girls who develop Type-1 diabetes before the age of ten die an average of nearly 18 years earlier than those who do not have diabetes, a new study has found.
The findings, published in the journal Lancet, also suggest that boys in the corresponding situation lose almost 14 years of life. The lives of patients diagnosed at age 26-30 years are shortened by an average of 10 years.
"The study suggests that we must make an even greater effort to aggressively treat patients diagnosed at an early age to reduce the risk of complications and premature death," said co-author Araz Rawshani from Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
For the study, the team monitored 27,195 individuals with Type-1 diabetes for an average of 10 years. The group was compared with 135,178 controls from the general population who did not have diabetes, maintaining the same distribution regarding gender, age and county of residence.
While researchers already knew that Type-1 diabetes is associated with a lower life expectancy, until now it was unclear whether and how much gender and age at the onset of illness affect both life expectancy and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The probability of severe cardiovascular disease generally proved to be 30 times higher for those who developed Type-1 diabetes before the age of 10 years than for controls.
With a diagnosis of diabetes at the age of 26-30 years, the corresponding risk increased by a factor of six.
One of the highest increases in risk noted in the study involved heart attacks in women who developed Type-1 diabetes before the age of 10 years. The risk for these women is 90 times higher than for controls without diabetes.