A study published in the British Medical Journal to find out trends in mortality among patients with early and late onset type I diabetes has found that alcohol consumption in patients with type I diabetes is associated with a high rate of mortality. It has also found that the chances of survival of patients with early onset (0 to 14 years) type I diabetes has improved with time whereas it has decreased in patients with late onset (15 to 29 years) type I diabetes.
The population based nationwide cohort study set in Finland examined 17,306 patients with type I diabetes below the age of 30 years between 1970 and 1999. The researchers followed up the participants for an average of 21 years. They examined the short and long term mortality associated with early and late onset type I diabetes and also tried to find out the reason behind the mortalities. They found that survival rates improved in patients with an early onset of disease. The improvement can be attributed to a fall in chronic complications of diabetes in the initial 20 years of the disease. However, the researchers noticed an increase in both short term as well as long term mortality in patients with late onset diabetes. This could be due to a rise in acute complications of the disease as well as deaths related to alcohol and drug abuse. Almost 39 % of all the mortalities occurring in the first twenty years, in the course of late onset type I diabetes, were because of alcohol and drug related causes. The researchers noticed that women had higher standardized mortality ratios in both early and late onset type I diabetes.
The study highlighted the importance of counseling the patients of type I diabetes about the short term and long term effects of alcohol. This is especially important in patients of young age as it is easy to fall prey to alcohol abuse in this age.