Health risks of young adult travelers with type 1 diabetes

Yael Levy-Shraga*, Uri Hamiel, Marianna Yaron, Orit Pinhas-Hamiel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Aim. International travel has become popular among young adults. This study evaluated the rate and characteristics of travel-associated health risks among young adults with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) compared with healthy same-aged individuals. Methods. A retrospective study was conducted of 47 young adults withT1DMand 48 without (controls). Structured questionnaires accessed information regarding 154 international trips during the preceding 5 years and lasted 7 days and longer. Results. Mean±SD ages of the diabetic and control groups were 26.6±5.0 and 26.9±2.6 years, respectively. Mean trip durations were 80.0 (range 7.0-390.0) and 87.6 days (range 7.0-395.0), respectively. The number of trips per person was 1.5±0.6 and 1.7±0.8, and the proportion of trips to developing countries 64 and 61%, respectively. There were no differences between the groups in rates of travel-related diseases that required medical consultation (11% vs 15% for all trips). No patient sought medical attention for acute problems related to diabetes management. Prior to 71% of their trips to developing countries, respondents with diabetes consulted their diabetes physician; prior to 26% of their trips they switched from an insulin pump to injections; during 41% of the trips they increased glucose monitoring; and for the period of 11% of the trips they defined their metabolic control as poor. Self-reported mean hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels before and after trips were 7.65±1.45 and 7.81±1.23%, respectively (p=0.42, paired t-test). Conclusions. Young adults with type 1 diabetes did not report more travel-related diseases than did healthy individuals. Most reported reasonable to good glycemic control during the trip without severe consequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-396
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Travel Medicine
Volume21
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2014

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