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

s that there is confounding by socioeconomic status and access to health care. They needed to adjust the data for more things. When they adjusted for race and ethnicity, the associations went down. And, children with untreated asthma and poor glycemic control may be the kids who aren't getting adequate health care," he explained.

Swamy agreed, adding, "this is one of those studies that finds an association, but it's hard to know if it's causal. We don't know why they're linked."

In the meantime, she also pointed out that some asthma medications can raise blood sugar levels, which could affect blood sugar control if parents and children aren't aware of that possibility.

Corticosteroids, especially oral steroids, can raise blood sugar levels, though Swamy said recent research has noted a link between inhaled corticosteroids and higher blood sugar levels. Certain asthma rescue medications -- inhaled medications known as beta-agonists -- can also raise blood sugar levels, according to Swamy.

"I tell primary care doctors to let us [endocrinologists] know when a child with asthma and diabetes needs a change in medications. If I know, I can preemptively change the insulin regimen and blood sugar control can still be good. The same goes for when a child has an asthma flare," said Swamy.

She added that parents shouldn't hesitate to call their child's diabetes health care team to find out what changes, if any, need to be made to their child's insulin regimen to account for asthma medications.

More information

Learn more about asthma medications from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

SOURCES: Juan Celedon, M.D., chief of service, division of pediatric pulmonology, allergy and immunology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; Anita Swamy, M.D., pediatric endocrinologist, and medica
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