Covid-19 Is Linked To More Diabetes Diagnoses Among Kids, CDC Study Finds
While the world reels under the effect of Covid-19 and its many strains, a new study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adds another worrying possibility. As per a report published on the 7th of January, 2022, Covid-19 may have a role in increasing the risk of diabetes in children infected with the virus.
According to the study, children who contract Covid are more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes after 30 days or more of getting infected compared to those not affected by Covid.
A Cause Of Concern
Experts have long known that a Covid-19 infection can aggravate the symptoms in patients already diagnosed with diabetes. This puts diabetic patients at a higher risk of contracting a severe Covid infection. But, this new study adds the possibility of the infection is a cause of diabetes in people less than 18 years of age.
The researchers came to the conclusion after analyzing data from two different health databases – HealthVerity and IQVIA. They compared the data of children infected with Covid to those who had no history of respiratory infections and those diagnosed with a non-Covid respiratory infection in the pre-pandemic era. The collected data was from the period between 1st March 2020 and 26th February 2021.
While the results for the two databases weren’t uniform, it showed that children infected with Covid were more likely to get diagnosed with diabetes later. The patients in the IQVIA database diagnosed with Covid had a 166% higher chance of developing diabetes than non-infected children. The Covid-positive children in the HealthVerity database, on the other hand, showed 31% more likelihood of becoming diabetic.
In addition, researchers also determined that compared to those suffering from non-Covid respiratory infections, children infected by Covid had a 116% more chance of becoming diabetic.
What Experts Are Saying
Some experts are of the opinion that Covid-19 could very well be a kind of catalyst that speeds up the development of diseases like diabetes. For example, the director of NYU Langone’s Pediatric Diabetes Center, Dr. Mary Pat Gallagher, thinks that these children were already on their way to developing diabetes; the Covid infection only accelerated the process.
The director of the pediatric endocrinology division at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Magge, said that the results of the study support the developments they have been observing since the pandemic hit. But there is a lack of clarity on whether the development of diabetes is a result of the Virus itself or due to other factors brought in by the pandemic. Further studies are needed to address these questions.
Several reports point out that Covid infections are rather mild in children. This is more so if we look at the new strains of the virus, such as Omicron, which is not as strong as the earlier strains. But while the initial symptoms may not be alarming, there’s still no way to know how the virus affects the body in the long run- both for children and adults.
So, should the report be a cause of concern? Well, it definitely is, but experts believe that now isn’t the time to panic. Instead, the focus here should be on controlling the spread of the viral disease.
At present, vaccines are available for everyone aged 5 and above, and medical professionals recommend getting vaccinated if eligible. Although there is no evidence that being vaccinated will keep you fully protected against Covid-19, there is a chance that it might. In addition, parents need to be aware of the symptoms of diabetes, such as weight loss, increased thirst, vomiting, nausea, and lethargy.