*WINNER* Would Annual A1C Testing Decrease Mortality in Undiagnosed Type 1 Diabetic Children?
Children across the globe are experiencing a life-threatening illness known as diabetic ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA, is a serious complication of type 1 diabetes that consists of high blood glucose levels (300+ mg/dL), the presence of ketones in the urine, and a low blood pH (metabolic acidosis). According to the MMWR, the rate of hospitalizations due to DKA increased 54.9% between the years of 2009 and 2014; furthermore, the Diabetes Cares Journal states that 22,225 children 17 years old and younger were hospitalized with DKA in 2017. Oftentimes, children experience DKA as the first symptom of type 1 diabetes. This is especially important because if these children do not yet know that they have diabetes, they will not know if their blood glucose levels are high or how to get it down. Consequently, they will go into DKA and may face serious illness unless treated appropriately. The good news is that DKA is preventable. Through our question, we propose that testing a child’s A1C at annual physicals could prevent DKA and death in undiagnosed type 1 diabetics. A1C is a blood test that tests the average amount of glucose that adheres itself to red blood cells over 3-4 months. With this test, we would be able to see if a child has diabetes, and we could correct their blood glucose before they fell into DKA- which could save lives.