Article Abstract

Type 1 diabetes: where are we in 2017?

Authors: Melanie Copenhaver, Robert P. Hoffman


Prior to the discovery of insulin, a diagnosis of diabetes was fatal within a few weeks to months due to insulin deficiency. With the discovery of insulin people with type 1 diabetes were able to live productive lives for many decades. However in 2017, the life expectancy of people with type 1 diabetes is still approximately 12 years less on average than the rest of the general population (1). The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial showed us that intensive control of type 1 diabetes leads to a decrease in microvascular complications such as retinopathy, nephropathy, and neuropathy (2). The Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications study showed that intensive blood glucose control reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease (3). The age adjusted relative risk for cardiovascular disease in people with type 1 diabetes is still 10 times that of the general population (4). The increased mortality and the burden of long-term diabetes care indicate that there is still much we need to learn about type 1 diabetes prevention, treatment and finding a true cure for this disease.