A follow-up study of 1966 patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) who were diagnosed at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP) between 1950 and 1981 has been completed. The mean age of the population at follow-up was 21.2 yr with a mean duration of IDDM of 12.9 yr. Nine percent of the patients were deceased, a sevenfold excess in mortality compared with the U.S. population. The relative increase in mortality was greater for females than males and greater for blacks than whites. Before age 20, the primary excess in mortality was at onset of IDDM, or within 6 mo after onset, and was due to acute diabetic complications. After age 20, the annual mortality risk was approximately 2%, which was more than 20 times greater than for the U. S. population. Renal disease was responsible for the majority of these deaths. There was a reduced risk of dying for diabetic patients who were diagnosed between 1966 and 1971 compared with patients diagnosed during earlier years.

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