Aims/hypothesis: There is limited information about the impact of type 1 diabetes on life expectancy in a contemporary population. We examined the life expectancy of type 1 diabetic patients and explored the contribution of mortality at different ages and of different causes of death to years of life lost (YLL) compared with the general population.
Methods: We derived mortality rates of Australians with type 1 diabetes listed on the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) between 1997 and 2010 (n = 85,547) by linking the NDSS to the National Death Index. The Chiang method was used to estimate life expectancy and Arriaga's method was used to estimate the contributions of age-specific and cause-specific mortality to the YLL.
Results: A total of 5,981 deaths were identified during the 902,136 person-years of follow up. Type 1 diabetic patients had an estimated life expectancy at birth of 68.6 years (95% CI 68.1, 69.1), which was 12.2 years (95% CI 11.8, 12.7) less than that in the general population. The improvement in life expectancy at birth in 2004-2010 compared with 1997-2003 was similar for both type 1 diabetic patients (men, 1.9 years [95% CI 0.4, 3.3]; women, 1.5 years [95% CI 0.0, 3.2]) and the general population (men, 2.2 years; women, 1.4 years). Deaths at age <60 years accounted for 60% of the YLL from type 1 diabetes for men and 45% for women. The major contribution to YLL was mortality from endocrine and metabolic disease at age 10-39 years (men, 39-59%; women, 35-50%) and from circulatory disease at age ≥40 years (men, 43-75%; women, 34-75%).
Conclusions/interpretation: Data from 1997 to 2010 showed that Australian type 1 diabetic patients had an estimated loss in life expectancy at birth of 12.2 years compared with the general population.
Keywords: Life expectancy; Type 1 diabetes; Years of life lost.