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Health of type 1 university students at ‘high risk’

By Editor
18th July 2018
Research, Self management Type 1 diabetes

Young people with type 1 diabetes are at a “high level of risk” when they transition to university, according to a study.

The team from the department of diabetes and endocrinology at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust wanted to investigate the impact starting university has on self-care in students in the UK.

A total of 1,865 current university students with type 1 diabetes and  aged between 18 and 24 were asked to complete a structured questionnaire. The association between demographic variables and diabetes variables was assessed using logistic regression models.

The findings were based the 584 (31 per cent) student responses from 64 hospitals and 37 university medical practices.

Some 62 per cent had maintained routine diabetes care with their home team, whereas 32 per cent moved to the university provider. Since starting university, 63 per cent said it was harder to manage their diabetes and 44 per reported higher HbA1c  levels than before university.

At university, 52 per cent had frequent hypoglycaemia, 9.6 per cent reported one or more episodes of severe hypoglycaemia and 26 per cent experienced diabetes‐related hospital admissions.

Female students and those who changed healthcare provider were approximately twice as likely to report poor glycaemic control, emergency hospital admissions and frequent hypoglycaemia.

Females were more likely than males to report stress [odds ratio (OR) 4.78, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.19–7.16], illness (OR 3.48, 95% CI 2.06–5.87) and weight management issues (OR 3.19, 95% CI 1.99–5.11) as barriers to self‐care. Despite these difficulties, 91 per cent of respondents never or rarely contacted university support services about their diabetes.

To read the study, click here.

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