April 4, 2013
Despite Free Health Care, Household Income Affects Chronic Disease Control In Kids
Even in Canada, the glycated hemoglobin levels of diabetic kids (type 1) are correlated with household income
Researchers at the University of Montreal have found that the glycated hemoglobin levels of children with type 1 diabetes followed at its affiliated Sainte-Justine Mother and Child University Hospital (CHU Sainte-Justine) is correlated linearly and negatively with household income. Glycated hemoglobin is the binding of sugar to blood molecules — over time, high blood sugar levels lead to high levels of glycated hemoglobin, which means that it can be used to assess whether a patient properly controls his or her blood glucose level. "Our study highlights a marked disparity between the rich and the poor in an important health outcome for children with type 1 diabetes, despite free access to health care", explained Dr. Johnny DeladoÃ«y, who led the study.
Because there are so many factors influencing the treatment of this disease, the researchers were not surprised by their results. "These confirm our clinical impression that the most important factor correlated with the treatment of type 1 diabetes is household income", DeladoÃ«y said. Importantly, the researchers found that the difference in glycated hemoglobin levels in kids from the poorest and the richest neighborhoods corresponds to a doubling of the risk of damage to the eyes (diabetes is a leading cause of blindness in adulthood). "Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease requiring multiple daily insulin injections and blood tests throughout the individual's life. Our study suggests that there should be greater support to children with type 1 diabetes who live in low income areas; this could include, for instance, increasing the number and length of visits from social workers", DeladoÃ«y explained.
On the Net: