An international study has found strong links between higher quality of life and improved diabetes control in youngsters with type 1 diabetes. In addition, the study identifies three factors that are linked with improved blood glucose control.
The TEENS study involved 5,887 participants with type 1 diabetes from 20 countries and across 5 continents. The youngsters were aged 8 to 25 years old and were put into the following three age group categories:
8 to 12 years old
13 to 18 years old
19 to 25 years old
Diabetes control was assessed by taking HbA1c levels and health-related quality of life was assessed by participants completing a questionnaire called the PedsQL
Diabetes module 3.0. The participants also had interviews to talk about family-related factors.
The results of the study showed that lower HbA1c scores were associated with higher health-related quality of life scores. This association was true across all three age brackets.
The lowest quality of life score was found in the 19- to 25-year-old age group. Females had lower quality of life scores than males across the three age groups.
The results also identified three factors that were linked with better quality of life and improved diabetes control. These were:
Using advanced methods to measure food intake
Taking blood glucose tests more frequently
Having more days per week for which they exercised for 30 minutes or more
It is possible that the improvements in quality of life and HbA1c may have gone hand in hand to some extent. It makes sense that a lower HbA1c will have resulted in feeling better, having less worry and performing tasks better. Additionally, having a better quality of life gives a better foundation upon which to better manage type 1 diabetes.
For youngsters that are having difficulty controlling type 1 diabetes, it is worth concentrating on the three factors identified by the study; measurement of food intake, more frequent blood test and taking more exercise. Concentrating on these three factors should help towards improving diabetes control which is likely to have knock on effects towards a better quality of life.
The study appears online, ahead of print, for the Diabetes Care journal.