Teenagers with type 1 diabetes are at greater risk of diabetic complications during their transition from paediatric care to adult care, new US research suggests.
The study found that without support young type 1 diabetics in America were considerably times more likely to have chronically high blood glucose levels when transitioning from paediatric to adult care, putting them at higher risk of eye disease, heart problems and kidney disease in later life.
The findings were based on data from 185 adolescents who participated in the US SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study. All participants had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes between the ages of 13 and 19, and received care from either a paediatric endocrinologist or paediatrician at baseline.
At follow-up during young adulthood, patients who had transitioned to an adult care provider before the age of 21 years were found to be 2.5 times more likely to have poor glycemic control (defined as a HbA1c reading of 9% or higher), compared with those who had continued receiving care from a paediatric provider.
Lead author of the study Dr Debra S. Lotstei, of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, said: “Youth with a chronic health problem like diabetes are at risk of losing the support of their health care providers and their family that helps them stay healthy.
“These findings suggest that to safely follow current guidelines, young adults who transition to adult care require additional support to maximize their health outcomes that will extend for some time beyond the transfer to an adult provider.”
The research is set to be published in the April issue in the journal Paediatrics .

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