New study finds link between Covid infection and higher risk of developing diabetes in some children

  • A study looked at the medical records of children under 18 to determine post Covid-19 diagnosis of diabetes.
  • Children who had Covid-19 were matched with those without a history of Covid infection.
  • The study found that SARS-CoV-2 accelerated the diagnosis of diabetes in children.

It is well established that people with diabetes have a higher risk of severe Covid-19 and poor outcomes when infected.

Now a new study has found that children infected with Covid-19 have an increased risk of becoming diabetic compared to their uninfected peers.

A Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention A study assessed a possible link between diabetes and Covid-19 infection in children under 18.

The researchers collected data from US medical claims databases. They assessed children who had a positive Covid-19 test and matched them with peers who had not tested positive for Covid-19 or had a history of the virus.

The first dataset contained information on nearly 81,000 children with Covid-19 with an average age of 12. The second set of data related to more than 439,000 young people under the age of 18 who tested positive for Covid-19.

Increased risk of diabetes

The study found that new diagnoses of diabetes were 166% higher in the first set of data and 31% higher in the second set.

The researchers say the link between diabetes and Covid-19 could be attributed to the effects of Covid-19 infection on organ systems involved in diabetes risk.

The virus could lead to diabetes through a direct attack on pancreatic cells, while other cases of diabetes may have been caused indirectly by pandemic-related risks such as increased body mass index, a risk factor to both for severe Covid-19 and diabetes.

“accelerated” diabetes

The study results also show that a percentage of these new cases of diabetes likely occurred in people who had prediabetes before contracting Covid-19.

In a report from Radio-Canada Newsexperts say children who were found to have diabetes after infection with Covid-19 were already at risk of having the disease, but Covid-19 accelerated their diabetes.

“We’re seeing so many more children with diabetes coming in. And they’re getting sicker,” said Dr. Sheela Natesh Magge, director of the pediatric endocrinology division at Johns Hopkins.

Magge said the study confirms that the pandemic puts children at increased risk of diabetes in an environment that was already in play before the pandemic.

“If you were already at risk, the pandemic has likely made it worse. The stress of any infection can raise blood sugar and can put you at higher risk for diabetes complications because your blood sugar could rise.”

The study recommends that children in this age group get vaccinated as part of diabetes prevention strategies.

According to the CDC, longer-term studies need to be conducted to define the potential association between Covid-19 and an increased risk of diabetes in children under 18.

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