A study has shown that people with type 1 diabetes are statistically at greater risk of heart disease, however, the reassuring note is that heart risks can likely be significantly reduced through simple methods of self-care.
The new research by University of Gothenburg links type 1 diabetes that is diagnosed at a young age to shorter life expectancy by an average 10 years compared with those diagnosed at an older age and 16 years shorter than people without the condition.
The findings added that people diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before the age of 10 had an increased risk of heart attacks and heart disease by up 30 times compared to people without the condition.
Diabetes organisations have been keen to point out that the statistics need not dictate fate and we add our voice to this. ‘Up to 30 times higher’ does not mean everyone will face a risk this high. Furthermore, there are a number of ways to reduce heart disease risk including keeping blood sugar levels in a healthy range where possible and being active each day.
Good self-care, eating a lifestyle that results in less high sugar levels and modern technology are all ways in which risks of heart problems can be greatly reduced.
Having higher sugar levels is one of the risk factors for heart disease because glycated proteins (when proteins chemically bond with glucose in the blood) play a role in blood vessel damage and narrowing. Research is showing that people with type 1 diabetes have the chance to achieve much healthier blood sugar than average if they are prepared to follow a very low carbohydrate lifestyle.
In May of this year, we reported how a group of mainly young people with type 1 diabetes were able to achieve exceptional diabetes control through reducing carbohydrate intake. A survey from the TypeOneGrit Facebook group showed that those taking part achieved average HbA1c results of 39 mmol/mol (5.7%).
Maintaining this level of control is likely to greatly reduce the risk of developing complications such as heart disease. Dr Ian Lake, from the UK, has type 1 diabetes and has been leading the way in re-thinking how we treat type 1 diabetes.
We have been working with Dr Lake on our Type 1 Program which will help people with type 1 to follow the simple steps needed to greatly improve diabetes control. You can register your interest in taking part in the program as soon as it is ready for launch.

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