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The risk of complications is 10 times higher in youngsters with poorly controlled type 1 diabetes than in those with well-controlled diabetes, according to a study presented Saturday at a virtual meeting of The Endocrine Society.
"This study shows keeping diabetic children's blood sugar under control is more important than ever during the pandemic," said lead author Dr. Manish Raisingani, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, in Little Rock.
Raisingani said the findings would help kids with type 1 diabetes and their families make better choices about the safety of various activities, including in-person schooling, during the pandemic.
The researchers assessed hemoglobin A1c levels in the children with diabetes. The blood test, which measures average blood sugar levels over the past three months, is the main test to help people manage their diabetes. Higher A1c levels are associated with diabetes complications, and the target for most patients is a level of 7% or less.
The study found that the risk of COVID-19 complications was 10 times higher in kids with A1c levels above 9% than in kids whose A1c was below 7%.
"Many parents of children with type 1 diabetes are wondering if it's safe to send their child to school during the pandemic," Raisingani said. "Our findings indicate that if their A1c is high, it would be best to have them attend virtual school, but if it's 7% or under, their risk is similar to other children without type 1 diabetes."
Research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
SOURCE: The Endocrine Society, news release, March 20, 2021
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