Less than a hundred years ago, being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes was practically a death sentence. Most people lived, on average, a few months, with a few lucky individuals surviving for over a year. Even just a few decades ago, someone diagnosed with T1D could expect to live a limited life that would end with a host of medical problems and an early decline.
Today, type 1 diabetics face a brighter outlook. Significant improvements in technology and diabetes treatment means diabetics can thrive for decades with the right care.
But despite better blood sugar control provided by things like CGMs, advanced pump technology, and a better understanding of the disease, diabetics still have a shorter life expectancy than the average person.
Average Life Expectancy of a Type 1 Diabetic
According to a study published in JAMA in 2015, the average lifespan of a male with type 1 diabetes is about 66 years, 11 years less than the average male. Women with T1D appear to be impacted even more by the disease and on average only live to 68, about 13 years less than average.
For people diagnosed with the disease before the age of 10, life expectancy drops even lower to 16 years less than the average person, according to a study published in The Lancetin 2018. While those diagnosed at an older age only see a 10-year drop in life expectancy on average.