Type 1 diabetes mortality halved in past 40 years

The first meta-analysis of the relative risk of mortality for patients with type 1 diabetes shows that since the 1990s they have been about three times more likely to die than people in the general population.

However, prior to 1971, the relative risk for these patients was nearly sixfold higher than for the general population.

Australian and US researchers pooled data from 26 studies in 20 countries in a bid to establish temporal changes in the relative risk of death associated with type 1 diabetes, where patients are typically diagnosed before age of 18 and become susceptible to renal disease, macrovascular disease and neuropathy.

They found a steady decline in relative risk from 5.80 in studies prior to 1971, to 5.0 in the 70s, 3.59 in the 80s, and 3.11 after 1990.

“It is clear that for type 1 diabetes patients, their mortality has been declining at an even faster rate than the general population,” the researchers said.