Researchers from the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada is looking at which factors have been responsible for allowing Canadian patients with type 1 diabetes to live for over 50 years with the autoimmune condition.
In Canada there is estimated to be 300,000 people living with type 1 diabetes. Of these, the vast majority will have been diagnosed within the last 50 years but the study has so far managed to recruit around 300 patients that were diagnosed in the early 1960s or before. The researchers at the Mount Sinai Hospital have also been collaborating with the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston which has been running a similar study.
The Canadian study, led by endocrinologists Dr Bruce Perkins, will use data, from detailed questionnaires that have been sent to those taking part in the research, as well as from their recent health results and eye examinations. The researchers are also keen to see whether the use of insulin pumps or injections is a factor in greater longevity.
Until the latter part of the twentieth century, many people newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes were told that their lifespan was likely to be significantly shortened by the condition. However, a substantial number of patients, which were given that warning, were able to defy expectations and live for longer, indeed, than a number of their peers and year group.
Research indicates that whilst type 1 diabetes is still a dangerous condition, life expectancy for those with the condition has been steadily growing with each decade.

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