Alcohol abuse masking improved diabetes care

Mon, 12 Sep 2011
Scientists in Finland have claimed that the increase in lifestyle problems such as alcohol abuse is masking improvements in the control and care of patients with type 1 diabetes.

The study examined mortality data for Finnish people with type 1 diabetes between 1970 and 1999, focusing on the importance of healthcare professionals being able to develop long-term relationships with patients and offering them advice on the impact that alcohol can have on their health. The research showed that survival rates for people who had developed type 1 diabetes by the age of 15 had increased in the last 30 years, while survival rates had gone down for people who had developed the metabolic condition from the ages of 15 to 29.

However, alcohol and drug-related deaths had been revealed to go up in the latter group, being 39 per cent of all deaths in these patients over the first 20 years of their diabetes.

The findings highlight how key it is for there to be a more permanent relationship between the patient and healthcare staff, so that advice on such issues as the long-term impact of alcohol for young people with type 1 diabetes can be understood.

The study pointed out "The high proportion of, and increase in, alcohol-related deaths among patients with type 1 diabetes reflects that of the background population. Since 2005, alcohol-induced diseases have been the most common cause of death in men and women of working age in Finland, exceeding the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease."
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