Page last updated at 01:17 GMT, Monday, 8 December 2008

Poor children in diabetes 'risk'

Child injecting insulin
The charity has called on the NHS to offer more tailored support

Children with diabetes living in deprived areas may not manage their condition as well as those in the rest of Scotland, a charity has claimed.

A study by University of Leeds found young people from families on low incomes had on average higher blood glucose levels.

Poor diabetes control can lead to complications such as blindness or kidney disease in later life.

The charity wants the NHS to tailor support to children's individual needs.

Director of the charity, Jane-Claire Judson, said children with a variety of issues to cope with, such as living in a low-income household, may have difficulty accessing services.

She said: "The study has found amongst people who are living in socio-economic deprivation they have a lower expectation in terms of their health anyway.

"And then there are issues around confidence about accessing healthcare and education. So these are all issues that can impact on managing the diabetes itself."

Findings based on 1,742 cases
Looked at blood glucose control
How old children were at diagnosis
How long they had been diabetic
The type of area they lived in
The size of the clinic they attend

The findings are based on an audit of 1,742 children and young people with diabetes treated in paediatric units.

The study looked at blood glucose control in the children and young people and factors that might explain any differences.

These factors included how old children were at diagnosis, how long they had diabetes for, the type of area they lived in and the size of the clinic they were treated in.

It found that on average blood glucose levels in children with diabetes from the most deprived areas were 0.5% higher than those from the most affluent areas.

The charity said this was particularly worrying as reducing blood glucose levels by 1% reduces the risk of diabetes-related deaths by 21%, heart attacks by 14% and retinopathy and kidney disease by 37%.

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