Know the facts.

The A word. 

It's quite common to hear horror stories about how diabetics have had their limbs amputated following complications with their condition (neuropathy). Rest assured, so long as you take care in managing your diabetes and look after your feet, you'll be okay. Those who end up having amputations usually don't have good control over their blood glucose and haven't looked after themselves for a long time. It's not a case of waking up one morning to find your foot has rotted away... If you're young, you really won't need to have this as a priority in your worry list. 

The B word. 

Another common worry among diabetics is the going blind as a result of your condition. Whilst it's true that uncontrolled blood glucose can potentially lead to a condition known as diabetic retinopathy, this complication would take several years to manifest and would be the result of a continuously unstable blood glucose. Don't worry, you wont need a guide dog just yet. 

The F word. 

Quite possibly the most frustrating myth there is about having Type 1 Diabetes. For the love of god, we did not get T1D from eating too much crap. The ultimate cause of T1D is still unknown. You can't blame everyone for making this mistake however. Most people doesn't know the difference between Type 1 and Type 2. Personally, I blame the absence of differentiation between Type 1 and Type 2 in the media. If you're going to talk about a certain type of diabetes, clarify which one you're talking about! Being overweight, alongside several other factors is associated with Type 2 diabetes. 

The D word. 

A question I was curious to find an answer for when I was first diagnosed was whether having T1D would affect my life expectancy. Quite a morbid thought, but one I was keen to get answers for. The truth is, there are many different factors that will influence how long you will grace this earth. High blood glucose of a signifcantly long period of time contirbute to the development of complications such as cardiovascular and kidney disease. High blood sugars are also assocatied with high blood pressure and cholesterol, both of which increase your chances of suffering a stroke or heart attack. A 30 year study by the University of Pittsburgh, published in 2012, noted that people with type 1 diabetes born after 1965 had a life expectancy of 69 years. Fast forward to 2020 and I'd say our odds are pretty good. There have even been cases of Type 1's living into their 80's. 

The take home message. 

So long as your diabetes is given the time and attention it demands, and your blood glucose control is good in the long run, you shouldn't worry. The nasty complications of T1D usually happen to those who have had very poor control over their diets and blood glucose over many years and tend to be a lot older. Eat well, keep your blood glucose as controlled as you can and enjoy your life worry free. It might well not be diabetes that takes you down!

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