Kids with diabetes who also have asthma find it more difficult to keep their blood glucose (sugar) under control than children with diabetes who do not have asthma, researchers from Kaiser Permanente Southern California reported in the journal Pediatrics. The authors added that 10.9% of 1,994 individuals with diabetes under the age of 21 years also had asthma. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), about 9% of American children and young adults with diabetes also have asthma.
Senior author and team leader, Mary Helen Black Ph.D. informed that 16.1% of participants with diabetes type 2 they studied also had asthma, compared to 10% among those with diabetes type 1.
Mary Black and team had set out to determine what the prevalence of asthma was among children with diabetes types 1 and 2 - they also looked out for possible links between asthma and glycemic control.
('Blood sugar control' means the same as 'blood glucose control' or 'glycemic control'.)
Their cross-sectional study included data from the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study, which included 1,683 patients with diabetes type 1, and 311 with diabetes type 2. The study period spanned from 2002 through 2005. They found out about each participant's asthma status by reading data on medications they were prescribed, as well as self-administered questionnaires. Blood glucose control was assessed from hemoglobin A1c measured at the study visit.
The researchers found that 15.5% of those with diabetes plus asthma had poor blood glucose control, compared to 9% among their counterparts without asthma.
The scientists cannot yet explain why blood sugar control varies between the two groups. Mary Black believes obesity may play a role among the kids with diabetes type 2.
The reason for the link between asthma and poor blood sugar control among those with type 1 diabetes is biological, the authors explained. Patients with poorly controlled diabetes have a higher chance of eventually having problems with lung function, compared to patients who control their diabetes properly.
Another reason could be that a child with both diabetes type 1 and asthma has two health problems to deal with, more things to remember to do - not an easy challenge, especially for a child.
The authors added in part of their conclusion in an Abstract in the same journal:
"Specific asthma medications may decrease systemic inflammation, which underlies the complex relationship between pulmonary function, BMI, and glycemic control among youth with diabetes."
Written by Christian Nordqvist