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Asthma Can Complicate Diabetes Care in Kids
Date:9/26/2011

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Children hit with the double whammy of type 1 diabetes and asthma have an especially tough time keeping their blood sugar under control, a new study finds.

The reason why asthma might complicate pediatric diabetes care remains unclear, however, and is "something that needs to be explored more," said Dr. Anita Swamy, a pediatric endocrinologist and medical director of the Chicago Children's Diabetes Center at La Rabida Children's Hospital in Chicago.

She was not involved in the new study, which appears in the October issue of Pediatrics.

About 215,000 children in the United States have diabetes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most children who have diabetes have type 1 diabetes, although type 2 diabetes is becoming more prevalent in kids. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to mistakenly attack the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body process carbohydrates in food. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn't produce enough insulin, or when it stops using insulin effectively, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Asthma is a chronic disease that causes inflammation in the airways, and when someone with asthma is exposed to a trigger, the disease causes the muscles in the lungs to tighten, making breathing very difficult. About 7 million American children have asthma, the CDC reports.

According to the new study, which was led by Mary Helen Black of Kaiser Permanente Southern California, about 11 percent of children with diabetes also struggle with asthma. Her team theorized that the inflammation that's present with untreated asthma might make it harder to control blood sugar levels.

The study tracked almost 1,700 children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and 311 diagnosed with type 2 diabetes between
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