Children With Covid Face Increased Risk Of Diabetes, CDC Finds

by health and nutrition advice journalist

Children who contract Covid-19 are significantly more likely to later be diagnosed with type 1 or 2 diabetes than children without Covid, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in a study Friday, another potential complication from the coronavirus as child Covid-19 hospitalizations increase in the United States. 

Charles Muro,age 13, is inoculated by a Nurse at Hartford Healthcares mass vaccination center at … [+] the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Connecticut on May 13, 2021. – Six Children were vaccinated at the site and joined other children in the United States as kids ages 12-15 are now able to be vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, joining the growing population of the US that can be vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

Key Facts

The study drew millions of healthcare records from medical data analytics companies IQVIA and HealthVerity between March 2020 and June 2021 (IQVIA’s sample included almost 1.7 million children and HealthVerity studied almost 900,000 children).

According to IQVIA’s data, Covid-infected children were 2.66 times — or 166% — more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes over 30 days after infection than those who hadn’t caught the coronavirus, and were 2.16 times more likely to be diagnosed than those who’d dealt with a non-Covid respiratory infection prior to the pandemic.

HealthVerity’s data said children who caught Covid-19 were 1.31 times — or 31% — more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes.

The study said the links between Covid-19 and diabetes are “likely complex,” but the two diseases may be connected because the coronavirus attacks cells in the pancreas, which produces insulin in the body.

The study also noted Covid-19 has disproportionately affected racial and ethnic minority groups, and children in those groups also face an increased risk of type 2 diabetes (race and ethnicity data were unavailable in the datasets).

The CDC said the findings highlight the importance of Covid-19 vaccinations among those eligible—currently ages 5 and up.

 In Friday’s study, the CDC noted a reported increase in type 1 diabetes diagnoses in European children during the pandemic, and previous research has found a possible link between Covid-19 and diabetes among adult patients. Plus, a November study of more than 3,800 Covid-19 patients found just under half developed high blood sugar levels — which are linked to diabetes — after contracting the disease.  

What To Watch For

Dr. Sharon Saydah, lead author of the CDC study, told the New York Times Friday it is unclear whether diabetes following Covid-19 will become a chronic condition in children, or if it will fade over time.

Key Background

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters Friday that pediatric hospitalizations as a result of Covid-19 reached record numbers this week as the coronavirus’ omicron variant continues to spread, with a large portion of the increase coming from children ages 4 and under, who are not yet eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccines. While Covid-related hospitalization rates are still low for this age group compared to adults, Walensky stressed “it’s critically important that we surround them with people who are vaccinated to provide them protection.” Experts say hospitalization rates may be up because omicron is more transmissible than previous forms of the virus, and because the variant tends to attack the upper airway system rather than the lungs—with children more vulnerable to complications from upper respiratory conditions than adults.

This content was originally published here.

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