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Study: Younger Minnesotans more likely to be hospitalized for diabetes

ST. PAUL — Young adults with diabetes are struggling to manage their blood sugar levels, putting them at greater risk of ending up in the hospital than older adults, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

The research, released Monday, Nov. 26, found young adults age 18 to 44 were more likely to have high blood sugar. They also are three to five times more likely than older adults to be hospitalized due to out-of-control blood sugar levels.

“These findings show we need to tailor our care and outreach to address the needs of younger adults with diabetes,” Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said. “These people have long lives ahead of them and it is important to ensure that diabetes is managed well so they can live those years in good health.”

Most hospitalizations were due to ketoacidosis, a condition that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports is on the rise among adults younger than 45. Sixteen percent of the more than 300,000 Minnesotans who have diabetes are younger than 45 years old, according to the CDC.

Researchers also found that just four out of 10 young adults met their blood sugar targets, compared with about eight out of 10 older adults.

Other findings include:
  • Younger adults with diabetes were less likely to report having their blood sugar checked in the past year, and to have a doctor who could help them manage their condition.
  • Younger adults were more likely to suffer from depression and be hospitalized for mental health issues.
  • Insurance coverage, health care affordability and costs of insulin could all contribute to blood sugar issues among young adults.
  • To better assist young adults, the Health Department recommends addressing barriers to blood sugar testing and improving the integration of diabetes management and mental health care.
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