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How Do You Die From Diabetes

Can Anybody Die From Diabetes

How Not to Die from Diabetes SUMMARY | Avoid Diabetes (How NOT to Die – Dr. Michael Greger)

Well, diabetes is one of the leading causes of death and has left breast cancer and AIDS far behind. While most people dont take diabetes seriously, it must be kept in mind that diabetes doubles the chance of having a heart attack and places one at an increased risk of stroke, circulation problems, heart disease, nerve damage, foot ulcers, blindness and kidney damage.

Life-Threatening Complications of Diabetes

So can you die from diabetes? Yes, they may. If not managed properly and in time, diabetes may lead to may complications, increasing the chances of death.

1. Hypoglycemia

Fluctuating blood sugar levels and resulting symptoms are often what diabetics present with. Diabetic people on insulin may complain of extremely low BSL and this state is known as hypoglycemia, which produces the following symptoms:

  • Palpitations
  • Tingling sensation around the mouth
  • Crying episodes during sleep

Ignoring these symptoms may have serious consequences as the following complications may develop:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Death

2. Insulin Reaction

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Death

3. Diabetic Ketoacidosis

4. Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Syndrome

Yet another complication, where production of insulin occurs but the hormone doesnt function, making all the glucose and fat useless. The sugar level may rise as high as 600mg/dl. This leads to an imbalance in glucose and its excretion in urine. Prompt medical care if not provided, it may lead to coma and death.

5. Diabetic Coma

Can You Die From Diabetes Type 1 And Type 2 Life Expectancy

Diabetes is a disease which is caused either due to the lack of proper production of insulin by the pancreas or due to the improper use of insulin in the human body. This gives rise to the blood sugar level or the glucose level in the body as it is the hormone insulin which is responsible for the breakdown of the carbohydrates and the other essential nutrients in the food to release the much-needed energy by the cells. It is a disease which adversely affects the primary function of metabolism in the body thereby exposing our body to several other complications.

Diabetes affects different people in different manners and as such, it takes several forms. The most common type of diabetes is type 1 and type 2 diabetes. There are various factors and causes which contribute to each type and form of the disease.

Due to the several complications that are associated with this condition, diabetes is often considered a deadly disease that can kill you. It is not uncommon to hear of people who have died of diabetes in the past few years. In this article, we shall further deep dive into the various issues that diabetes accompanies and might lead to the death of the diabetic patient.

  • Ensuring a Long Life with Diabetes
  • How Do People Die From Diabetes

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    Q.How do people die from diabetes?

    A. People who have diabetes cannot regulate their blood sugar levels and if the disease isnt tightly controlled, blood sugar can spike to abnormally high levels, a condition called hyperglycemia, or dip below normal, a condition called hypoglycemia. Both conditions are potentially life-threatening and can lead to coma and death if not promptly treated.

    But complications resulting from the disease are a more common cause of death. Heart disease strikes people with diabetes at significantly higher rates than people without diabetes, and we dont fully know why, said Dr. Robert Gabbay, chief medical officer at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. People with diabetes develop heart disease at younger ages and are nearly twice as likely to die of heart attack or stroke as people who do not have diabetes.

    People with Type 2 diabetes, which is the more common form of the disease, are more likely to have elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity, Dr. Gabbay said, all risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The good news, he said, is that a lot of treatments, like those for lowering cholesterol, are even more effective at lowering risk in people with diabetes than in people without. Some new classes of diabetes medications used for Type 2 diabetes have also been shown to reduce cardiovascular risk, he said.

    People with Type 1 diabetes are also at increased risk for heart disease, though the reasons are less clear.

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    Q: How Long Can You Live With Diabetes Type 1

    Answer: Invention of insulin therapy has prolonged the life of patients with diabetes type 1. Cardiovascular complications are the most common in type 1 diabetes patients, which decreases the life expectancy of them.

    A study has found that male patients live approximately 66 years and female patients approximately 68 years with type 1 diabetes mellitus.

    Type 2 Diabetes: General Considerations


    People with type 2 diabetes can take a variety of glucose therapies including oral and/or injectable therapies in order to manage their diabetes during their lifetime. They may also be taking other classes of drugs including antihypertensives and lipid lowering therapies. Oral medication and use of injectable therapies such as GLP-1 receptor agonists and insulin should be reviewed and the targets for glucose control agreed. Weight loss and/or anorexia may mean reduced requirements for diabetes treatments. The need for most of these therapies will reduce as the person goes through the last stages of life. Table offers a guide as to how to reduce these medications, and in particular those that carry a risk of hypoglycaemia. Sulphonylureas and insulin therapies should be avoided — especially if the individual has worsening renal function these drugs are excreted by the kidney and the risk of hypoglycaemia is increased. Insulin can often be discontinued in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

    People with type 2 diabetes who consistently have raised blood glucose readings will be at risk of developing HHS this condition is characterised by severe dehydration, an osmolality of more than 320mmHg, and blood glucose readings more than 40mmol/L. Mortality rates are high in these individuals but the condition is relatively rare and usually only found in older frail people with diabetes who are treated with either diet or diet and metformin and in those taking corticosteroid therapy.,

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    How Long Can People With Diabetes Expect To Live

    Diabetes UK estimates in its report, Diabetes in the UK 2010: Key Statistics on Diabetes , that the life expectancy of someone with type 2 diabetes is likely to be reduced, as a result of the condition, by up to 10 years.

    People with type 1 diabetes have traditionally lived shorter lives, with life expectancy having been quoted as being reduced by over 20 years.

    However, improvement in diabetes care in recent decades indicates that people with type 1 diabetes are now living significantly longer.

    Results of 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.

    Type 1 Diabetes: General Considerations

    People with type 1 diabetes will have been taking insulin for many years and will be knowledgeable about their own clinical needs. If they have capacity and the will to do so they should be supported to manage their own self-blood glucose testing and administer their own insulin. This will depend on capacity and dexterity. In the latter stages of life, they may be unable to manage their own insulin for example, if they usually use an insulin pump, carbohydrate count, or use a pen device or insulin syringe. In the later stages of the dying process they may need to be changed to a different insulin device or regimen or a third party may need to administer the insulin. In the last days of life often once-daily insulin may be required this should be a long-acting analogue insulin with evidence of low risk of hypoglycaemia.

    DKA, a condition characterised by severe dehydration, acidosis, and blood glucose readings usually above 20mmol/L, develops very quickly in people with diabetes who do not receive insulin. The symptoms of DKA are unpleasant and to be avoided at all times. Insulin treatment can never be discontinued in these individuals even if they are not able to eat or drink. It can, however, be significantly reduced, with some individuals only requiring a daily dose of long-acting insulin in the last few weeks and days of life. The treatment of choice would be once-daily long-acting insulin such as insulin glargine or insulin degludec.

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    What Is The National Diabetes Audit

    The news is based on the National Diabetes Audit Mortality Analysis 2007-2008. This report was prepared in partnership with various trusts, including The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership , which promotes quality in healthcare, and the NHS Information Centre, the official source of health and social care data and information for England. The NDA covered four key components of the governments National Service Framework for Diabetes:

    • checking whether everyone with diabetes was diagnosed and recorded on a practice diabetes register
    • looking at whether those registered are receiving key elements of diabetes care
    • looking at the proportion of people registered to have diabetes who achieve the treatment targets for glucose control, blood pressure and blood cholesterol, as defined by NICE
    • looking at the rates of acute and long-term complications of people with diabetes, including deaths from the condition, the focus of the current report

    As part of this GP audit, all primary care trusts contributed data from 5,359 GP practices on 1.4 million people with diabetes. This figure represents 68% of the 2.1 million people estimated to have diabetes in England in 2007-2008 . The current analysis focuses on mortality from the condition, and has therefore also linked data from the NDA to formal death notifications through the NHS Information Centre Medical Research Information Service in order to include data for those people with diabetes not included in the GP audit.

    Can You Die From Type 1 Diabetes

    How Can You Die From Diabetes

    There cannot be a sure shot answer to the question: âcan you die from type 1 diabetes?â The reason for the above statement is that there are a lot of factors that shall determine the life expectancy of a diabetic patient.

    The factors include the following:

    • The time frame within which the patient has been diagnosed with the condition.
    • The way in which the patient has been able to control his or her blood glucose and sugar levels.
    • The diabetic complications which the patient has been suffering from.
    • Several other environmental and other factors.

    As per the reports released by the organization, Diabetes UK, those suffering from type 1 diabetes are known to live 15-20 years lesser as compared to those who are healthy and are not suffering from any such condition. However, with proper care and management, diabetes and blood glucose and sugar levels can be controlled and in the process, you will end up living a longer life than expected.

    The causes that can lead to deaths in type 1 diabetes include:

    • âDead in Bedâ syndrome which usually occurs due to an episode of extremely low blood pressure while asleep and which often leads to death.
    • A few deaths might also occur due to heart strokes and failure.
    • Kidney failure could be another reason for death in these circumstances.

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    Why Are So Many People Dying Of Diabetes

    The analysis itself did not look at the specific causes of death among people with diabetes. However, it is widely recognised that without proper management of this condition, there is a higher risk of death from several causes including critically high or low blood sugar, heart failure or kidney failure.

    Diabetes is a long-term condition that affects the bodys ability to process glucose . Normally the amount of glucose in the blood is controlled by the hormone insulin, which helps break it down to produce energy. In people with diabetes, there is either not enough insulin to process the glucose or the bodys cells do not respond appropriately to the insulin produced. This results in glucose levels building up in the blood.

    There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and 2. People with type 1 diabetes do not produce any insulin. People with type 2 diabetes do not make enough insulin, or the bodys cells are not sensitive enough to insulin. Having either type puts people at increased risk of several serious complications, including heart disease and stroke, circulation problems, nerve damage, foot ulcers, blindness and kidney damage.

    Planning For End Of Life

    The overriding principle of any care offered is to first do no harm as described by Thomas Inman in 1860 . Each time an individual is treated there is a risk of causing harm and this is no less true in diabetes management. Acknowledging that some individuals may not wish to know that they are entering the last stages in life some who have capacity and wish to management their diabetes for as long as they are able should be enabled to discuss and decide on treatment options. These should include blood glucose monitoring, potential drug side effects and what treatments they would prefer to have or be discontinued should their health deteriorate. When individuals are nearing the end of their lives this capacity may be impaired or absent. The development of care planning documents such as Advance Directives can enable this discussion to take place much earlier. There are three types of advance planning documents in the UK :

    It is important that individuals are able to consider using these tools while they still have capacity and that, families, carers and the general practitioner are aware of their existence.

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    Studies Regarding Type 1 Diabetes Life Expectancy:

    The Journal of American Medical Association published a report that men with type 1 diabetes have a shortened lifespan of 11 years than normal men. On the other hand, Women with the condition have their lives cut short by 13 years. They also added that the impact on heart health appears to be one of the leading causes of this.

    What Was The Reports Main Finding

    Can You Die From Diabetes

    Researchers estimated that in total there were about 16,000 more deaths among people with diabetes than would been expected if their mortality risk was the same as the general population. By linking these results to records of national death certificates they estimated 24,000 excess deaths each year in people with diabetes.

    The risk of death for patients with type 1 diabetes was estimated to be 2.6 times higher than that of the general population, and for people with type 2 diabetes the risk was estimated to be 1.6 times higher. Across the country there were variations in mortality, from 1,852 deaths out of 100,000 people with type 1 diabetes in London to a high of 2,351 out of 100,000 in the northeast. For type 2 diabetes the figures ranged from 1,246 out of 100,000 in London to 1,668 out of 100,000 in the northeast.

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    Death Certificates And Forensic And Clinical Autopsy

    Whenever a person dies in Denmark a death certificate is issued. The death certificate is always issued by a medical doctor, who on basis on all available information, including medical files, determines most likely cause of death. Police involvement is mandatory whenever a person is found dead and/or death is sudden and unexpected. The police decide whether a medicolegal external examination is performed. The police carry out this examination together with a Medical Doctor of Public Health who has access to first responder records, any medical files related to the deceased, the entire police record including eye witness statements, and the body of the deceased, which is always externally examined. Information from all of these sources is included in a supplementary information field on the death certificate, which makes Danish death certificates highly suitable for identification of sudden and unexpected death.,

    Forensic autopsy is conducted if manner of death is not fully elucidated after medicolegal external examination. When indicated a toxicological examination is performed by the forensic toxicology department. Furthermore, physicians and relatives of the deceased can request a hospital autopsy if it is decided not to perform a forensic autopsy.

    What Causes Dead In Bed Syndrome

    A lack of detailed post-mortem notes has meant that the cause or causes of dead in bed syndrome have not been confirmed with certainty.

    The evidence that has been available suggests that deaths could be caused by night time hypoglycemia triggering disturbances in heart rhythm or cardiac autonomic neuropathy .

    Hypoglycemia-associated autonomic failure is also thought to play a part. HAAF means patients have a reduced counter-regulatory response to hypos and reduced hypo awareness

    The reduced counter-regulatory response means that the body has reduced ability to produce the adrenaline or glucagon in response to a hypo. Glucagon is the bodys blood glucose raising hormone, and so a lack of glucagon response takes away a key life saving mechanism.

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    Diabetes And Steroid Therapy

    Steroid treatments are often used in palliative care for symptom control. The most commonly used are prednisolone or dexamethasone. Steroids can cause hyperglycaemia and its associated symptoms in those known to have diabetes and in those without a previous diagnosis on diabetes. Once daily steroid treatment taken in the morning will usually cause a substantial rise in blood glucose in the late afternoon or early morning. This can be managed by the use on a sulphonylurea such as Gliclazide or a basal insulin such as Humulin I®, Insulatard® or Insuman Basal® administered in the morning . Early discussions with a member of the diabetes specialist team can help with the planning of a suitable regimen to manage glucose excursions .

    Figure 3


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