The National Pediatric Diabetes Audit report revealed that a growing number of children in England and Wales are being diagnosed with diabetes, with many showing signs of potentially serious health problems. The report showed that 26,867 children and young people aged from 0-25 years were registered with diabetes in 2013-2014, compared to 25,221 the previous year.
Over 95 percent of the total registered cases were of Type 1 diabetes. Of those, almost one in five children aged 0-11 years and one in four over the age of 12 years were classed as obese. 27.5% of young people with Type 1 diabetes also had high blood pressure, while more than 7% had excess protein in their urine indicating a high risk of future kidney disease; and more than 14% had early signs of eye disease and could be at risk from blindness in the future.
The report said, "Patients aged 12 and over were showing early signs of potentially serious complications including kidney disease and blindness. While quality of care for young people with diabetes was found to be improving, there remains significant variation across different regions."
The report found that only 16% young diabetic patients undergo the recommended seven key checks each year. Children and young people living in deprived areas had poorer outcomes in terms of diabetes control than in more affluent areas. The white ethnic groups achieved better diabetes control than other ethnicities. The highest prevalence of the condition was found among young people in Wales and the South West of England while the lowest was in London.
Dr. Justin Warner, clinical lead for the audit, said, "On the one hand the picture is positive; the quality of care for children and young people with diabetes is improving and we're getting better at ensuring care processes are met. Yet the challenge we face is also growing, with more children being diagnosed with diabetes and some displaying early signs of potentially serious long-term health problems. This is a lifelong condition where tight overall diabetes control is important to reduce the risk of complications later in life."
Diabetes UK chief executive Barbara Young said, "The numbers of children not receiving the care they need was hugely worrying. There is an urgent need for the NHS to make the pace of improvement quicker, so that we get to a point where every child with diabetes is getting the care they need to give them the best possible chance of a long and healthy life."