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Researchers discover increasing alcohol-related deaths among Type 1 diabetics

NEW YORK — A new study conducted by Finland researchers and published in the latest issue of the British Medical Journal found that alcohol increasingly has become a noteworthy cause of death among Type 1 diabetics.

While investigating short- and long-term time trends in mortality among 17,306 patients diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes under 30 years of age between 1970 and 1999, as well as studying the causes of death over time, researchers followed up with participants for an average of 21 years. They found that survival in the early-onset group (participants ages 0 to 14 years) improved from 1970 to 2007, thanks to a decrease in chronic complications of diabetes. Researchers did find, however, both short- and long-term mortality in the late-onset group (participants ages 15 to 29 years), due to a rise in alcohol- and drug-related mortality and acute complications of diabetes. Overall, mortality due to alcohol- and drug-related causes accounted for 39% of deaths during the first 20 years of diabetes in this group.

"This highlights the importance of permanent and long-lasting doctor-patient relationships, close supervision and guidance on the short-term and long-term effects of alcohol in young people with Type 1 diabetes, especially in our alcohol permissive cultures," the researchers concluded.

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