New report issues warning over young diabetics

A new report has stated that there is a "worryingly high" number of children with type 1 diabetes who have warning signs of long-term health complications, such as blindness.worryingly high" number of children with type 1 diabetes who have warning signs of long-term health complications, such as blindness.

The National Paediatric Diabetes Audit report, published by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), found that just 16.1 per cent of young people aged 12 years and older are getting the seven annual checks that every child with diabetes should have.

The fact that the vast majority of children are missing out on these regular health checks suggests that they could be at a high risk of developing long-term problems, which could have been prevented.

According to the report, this is contributing to a high number of children displaying early signs of serious long-term complications, as well as a lack of diabetes education for children and their families.

It found that more than a quarter of children (27 per cent) over the age of 12 with type 1 diabetes are exceeding their blood pressure target, which raises their risk of developing a number of health conditions. 

Some seven per cent of these children had early signs of kidney damage, while more than 14 per cent had started to suffer problems with their eyesight such as blurred or partially blocked vision. This is especially worrying as diabetes is one of the biggest causes of blindness in the UK.

The RCPCH figures were based on analysis from young people's diabetes units across England and Wales in 2013-14. It found that more than 26,800 children and young people were recorded as having diabetes last year, compared with just over 25,200 in 2012/13.

Barbara Young, Diabetes UK chief executive, said the report suggests that healthcare is getting better for young people and children, but there are still a number of people who are not getting the care they need, which is "hugely worrying".

She said the evidence indicates that children are experiencing problems with their eyesight or kidneys before they become an adult, which is "tragic". Ms Young added that there are great concerns for the future health of children if they show signs of complications at such a young age.

“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. They should all be getting their annual checks, but also being offered education to give them the knowledge they need to manage their own condition. And when they reach adulthood, we need to make sure the transition to adult services is much smoother, as at the moment there are too many of them falling through the gap," she added.

Posted by Phillip Briggs

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

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