From Cape Girardeau, Missouri, USA:
My 28 year old brother is a brittle diabetic and has had type 1 for 21 years. I have heard that his life expectancy is shortened, but I'm not sure by how much. He has lost vision in one of his eyes, already has to have dentures, has problems with his feet, and his injuries seem to be taking longer to heal. I'm really worried about him and was wondering if there was anyway that you could give me any information on the average life expectancy of someone with his condition, and if there is anything that can be done to help improve his health?
There are wide variations on outcomes based on whether he has developed any complications from the diabetes. The complication that seems to be most threatening to outcome is nephropathy or kidney involvement. When chronic renal failure develops, this also has an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. It is also associated with increased risk of other complications, such as hardening of the arteries involving the legs, where decreased circulation puts the extremities at risk for severe infections.
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