New research suggests that children with type 1 diabetes are five times more likely to be hospitalised than children without type 1 diabetes.
The study, conducted at Cardiff University School of Medicine, indicates that children with type 1 diabetes aged younger than five are the most likely to be hospitalised. The risk of hospitalisation then decreases by 15 per cent for every five-year increase in the child’s age when they are diagnosed.
The study also suggested that poorer children are more likely to be hospitalised than those from more economically affluent backgrounds. Professor John W. Gregory, of the Cardiff University School of Medicine, explained: “Our research shows that children with diabetes are at an unacceptably increased risk of being admitted to hospital. Based on this evidence, clinical services need to look at ways of supporting the care of those most at risk: the very young and those from poorer backgrounds.
“It is likely that greater anxiety surrounds healthcare issues in those from poorer backgrounds and in very young children who can become ill more rapidly than older children.”
More and more children are being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Every year, the number of diagnoses increases by 3-4 per cent. The majority of parents are unaware of the symptoms, so type 1 diabetes is often not diagnosed until the onset of diabetic ketoacidosis, a serious condition that occurs when blood glucose levels are not brought down.
Professor Reinhard Holl, from the University of Ulm, said: “This study demonstrates that we are still far from our goal of providing treatment that interferes as little as possible with the lives of children and their families. Hospitalisation keeps children out of school and away from their families and friends – this should be avoided by all means if possible.
“In addition, costs to the health care system are high, money which should be invested to improve continuous outpatient management and family support for those affected.”

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