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Study: Kids with diabetes likely to have asthma as well

Consumer Reports News: September 27, 2011 01:53 PM

A new research report suggests some disturbing news for parents: Children with diabetes might be likely to suffer from asthma as well. More over, kids with both chronic health conditions may have a tougher time controlling their blood glucose levels, say researchers.

The report, published in the October issue of Pediatrics, found that 11 percent of the 2,000 children and young adults (age 3- to 21-years old) with diabetes also had asthma. While that's only slightly higher than the approximately 9 percent of the U.S. population that suffers from asthma, the researchers report bigger differences when digging into the data.

Among study participants with type 2 diabetes, researchers note that 16 percent also suffered from asthma. What's more, even though only 10 percent of participants with type 1 diabetes have asthma, they also have poor blood glucose levels. Thirty-seven percent of those kids were likely to have hemoglobin A1C levels of more than 9.5 percent.

Lead researcher Mary Helen Black of the department of research and evaluation at Kaiser Permanente Southern California says most of the diabetic participants in her research study also suffered from obesity. But she says that there is no clear explanation why children who suffer from either types of diabetes as well as asthma appear to have difficulties controlling blood sugar levels.

Black says the study also finds that participants who managed their asthma with leukotriene drugs, such as Singulair, appeared to have much better control over A1C levels. However, it may be simply that patients who are taking better control over their asthmatic condition are also managing their diabetes as well.

The bottom line, Black told Reuters: Parents with diabetic children should be alert for signs of asthma as well.

Prevalence of Asthma and Its Association With Glycemic Control Among Youth With Diabetes [Pediatrics]
Asthma tied to poorer diabetes control in kids [Reuters]
Asthma can complicate diabetes care in kids [USA Today]

Paul Eng

   

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