THURSDAY, Sept. 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Symptoms of type 1 diabetes (T1D) in children are not always immediately recognized by primary care providers, according to a study published online in the September issue of Pediatric Diabetes.

Johan H. Wersäll, from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and colleagues surveyed caregivers of 237 patients (aged 0 to 18 years) admitted to the hospital with new-onset T1D and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) between 2015 and 2017. Delayed referral included either a primary health care contact due to diabetes-related symptoms zero to four weeks before hospital admission without immediate referral or identified elevated glucose levels at a primary health care center without immediate referral.

The researchers found that 39 percent of parents had suspicion of new-onset diabetes before health care contacts. There was an association observed between parental suspicion of diabetes and higher pH values at diagnosis. Forty-three percent of cases involving patients in contact with primary health care providers before hospital admission had a delayed referral. There was an association noted between delayed referral and lower pH values at hospital admission. Regardless of delay or not, symptoms leading to primary health care contacts were similar.

“Improved knowledge and general awareness of diabetes symptoms among both caregivers and among medical professionals working in the primary health care sector are paramount in improving this situation and preventing DKA,” the authors write.

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