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Rising number of youngsters 'now diabetic'

11 March 2015 10:09

More young people are suffering from diabetes, data suggests

More young people are suffering from diabetes, data suggests

A rising number of children and young people are suffering from diabetes, according to a new report.

And the study warns that the quality of care received by those with the condition depends on which area they live in.

The new figures show that in 2013/14 there were 26,867 people aged under 25 being cared for in paediatric diabetes units in England and Wales.

The total represents a jump of more than 1,600 on the previous year.

The National Paediatric Diabetes Audit has been published by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

It shows that young people in affluent areas are likely to be benefiting from more effective diabetes control than those living in places that are more deprived.

White youngsters with diabetes, meanwhile, are likely to be getting better care than those from other ethnic groups, the report states.

The study shows diabetes in children and young people is most prevalent in Wales and south-west England, and least so in London.

While having diabetes and the complications it can bring can have an impact on people's lives, it does not have to stop them doing the things they enjoy such as going on holiday, thanks to the availability of diabetes travel insurance policies.

More than one in four (27%) young people with Type 1 diabetes also have high blood pressure, the audit shows.

Just over one in eight (14%) are displaying early symptoms of eye disease, while more than 7% have too much protein in their urine, something that increases the risk of kidney disease in the future.

Overall, though, the proportion of young people receiving 'excellent' diabetes control has risen to 18.4% from 15.8% in 2012/13.

But while current standards say diabetics over the age of 12 should be getting seven key checks every year, the report shows that only 16% are actually doing so.

Even so, that proportion is still well up on the 7% and 12% who were getting all the annual checks in 2011/12 and 2012/13 respectively.

Meanwhile, a quarter of those aged between 12 and 25 and nearly a fifth of children of 11 and under with Type 1 diabetes are classed as obese, despite the disease not being linked to obesity as Type 2 diabetes is.