In kids with type 1 diabetes, the average hemoglobin A1C levels were about 7.5 for children without asthma and 7.8 for those with asthma. A1C is a test that measures long-term blood sugar control. The higher the number, the higher the average blood sugar was. Non-diabetic people generally have an A1C below 6.
Overall, kids with type 1 diabetes and asthma were 37 percent more likely to have poor glycemic [blood sugar] control than to have good control, compared to children without the respiratory ailment. "Among youth with type 1 diabetes, asthma is associated with poor glycemic control, especially if asthma is untreated," the study authors concluded.
However, they did not find a statistically significant link between type 2 diabetes and asthma control. That might be because they had fewer children in the study with both of those conditions, the team suggested.
The use of asthma medications significantly impacted blood sugar control, reported the researchers. Seventy-two percent of children with type 1 diabetes and asthma who were treated with leukotriene modifiers (brand names are Accolate, Singulair, Zyflo) achieved good blood sugar control, according to the study. Leukotriene modifiers are preventive medications that need to be taken every day. They're not available in generic forms.
Still, one expert was skeptical of a true physiological link between asthma and blood sugar control.
"I don't think there's any biology behind this association," said Dr. Juan Celedon, chief of service, division of pediatric pulmonology, allergy and immunology at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Instead, he said, "the ones taking these medications are the ones with better insurance and access to quality health care."
And, that's Celedon's issue with the study as a whole. "My concern i
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