Is quality of life the most challenging long-term complication of type 1 diabetes?

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High quality of life can be preserved in individuals living with type 1 diabetes, according to the results of a new study that followed people living with the disease for more than 40 years.

In the JUBILE study, 808 questionnaires from patients and physicians on quality of life were analyzed. The duration of diabetes 49 ± 6 years, with an average age at diagnosis of 15 ± 10 years.

Below are highlights from the study:

-32% of patients had macrovascular disease.
-Nearly half (46%) had no or mild non-proliferative retinopathy.
-A quarter of patients used insulin pumps.
-Injections with insulin pen/syringes were done on average injected 3.9 ± 2.1 times per day.
-67% of patients self-monitored blood glucose ≥5 per day.
-55% of participants were currently working and 38% had a degree.
-Most patients still went out (59%), ate out (82%), and traveled (66%).
-38% of participants played sports.

“Living a long and pleasant life is possible with type 1 diabetes. Diabetes does not prevent people from having children, working at highly qualified jobs, traveling abroad: a message of hope that is comforting for patients, their family, relatives, and the medical teams,” the authors concluded.

Altman JJ, Niarra R, Balkau B, et al. The JUBILE cohort: Quality of life after more than 40 years with type 1 diabetes. Diabet Med. 2021; https://doi.org/10.1111/dme.14460