Children living with type 1 diabetes are almost five times more likely to be admitted to hospital than non-diabetic children, a new study has found. Pre-school children and children from poorer background are at higher risk.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes depend on insulin injection for the rest of their lives. About 5 percent of all cases of diabetes are type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes among children is increasing by around 3 to 4 percent every year. Researchers analyzed causes of hospital admission among 1,577 Welsh children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes between 1999 to 2009. Around 20 percent of the children had been diagnosed before the age of five and 40 percent were diagnosed after the age of 10. The hospital records were compared with those of 7,800 children admitted to hospital without diabetes.
The results revealed that children with type 1 diabetes were five times more likely to be admitted to hospitals for any cause as their peers. Pre-schoolers were at higher risk of admission. After the age of five, the risk fell by 15 percent for every five year rise in age at diagnosis.
Although there was no gender difference, children from a disadvantaged background were more likely to be admitted to hospitals.
Dr John Gregory, professor and specialist in pediatric endocrinology, Cardiff University School of Medicine, said, "Children with diabetes are at an unacceptably increased risk of being admitted to hospital. Based on evidence, clinical services need to look at ways of supporting the care of those at high risk: the very young and those from poorer backgrounds."
The study has been published in the journal BMJ Open