Type 1 diabetes (T1D) affects about 200,000 children and young people in the United States. Technology plays a big role in managing T1D. It provides many benefits to patients too. For example, we know that diabetes technology is linked to better health and quality of life for children and teens. Examples of diabetes technology include insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors (CGM).
Hispanic/Latino low use of diabetes technology
Despite all the benefits, data shows that only 60% of children aged 2 to 17 years use an insulin pump and only 6% use CGM. Also, the use of these devices is lower in minority groups. For example, 71% of white patients use pumps and 76% use CGM, while only 17% Hispanic/ Latinos use pumps and 10.8% use CGM.
Many factors impact technology use
In a new survey comparing people with T1D, researchers found that English-speaking Hispanic/Latino young people are more likely to have public health insurance. They also have higher blood sugar levels (as measured by HbA1c) and are less likely to use a CGM. Further, English-speaking Hispanic/Latino youth are generally more negative about using technology for diabetes care than young Spanish-speaking people or youth with T1D who are not Hispanic/Latino.
These different attitudes toward technology among young Hispanic/Latinos with T1D show us how important it is to consider individual patient needs in a way that is culturally sensitive, rather than making assumptions based on ethnic identity. Many factors influence use of diabetes technology. Examples include how well a person is adapting to U.S. culture, trust, insurance, access to care, and doctor preference.
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