Covid May Raise the Risk of Diabetes in Children, Study Says – The New York Times
The researchers found increases in diabetes in both data sets, though the relative rates were quite different: they found a 2.6-fold increase in new diabetes cases among children in one, and a smaller 30 percent increase in another.
“Even a 30 percent increase is a big increase in risk,” said Sharon Saydah, a researcher at the C.D.C. and lead author of the study. The differences likely result from different ways of classifying children as having Covid, she added.
Dr. Saydah said it was not yet clear whether post-Covid diabetes would be a chronic condition in these children, or a transient condition that resolves. Most of the children were only followed about four and a half months.
The finding underscores the importance of vaccinating all eligible children against Covid, she added, and using measures like masking and distancing, especially to protect the youngest, who cannot yet be vaccinated.
“It’s really important for clinicians, pediatricians and parents to be aware of the signs and symptoms of diabetes, so they can get their kids diagnosed,” Dr. Saydah said. Increased thirst, frequent urination, unintentional weight loss and fatigue are among the telltale symptoms.
Many of the children in the study were only diagnosed after having an episode of diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening complication that occurs when the body doesn’t have enough insulin to allow blood sugar into cells to use for energy.
Dr. Saydah and her colleagues did not distinguish between types of diabetes, including both Type 1 and Type 2 in their analysis. The increases were seen both among those who had been ill with Covid, and those who were asymptomatic but tested positive.
The study looked at 24 hospitals in 20 states between July and Dec. 9, 2021, during the period when the Delta variant was dominant. It concluded that vaccination had an efficacy rate of 91 percent against MIS-C, and noted that among 38 hospitalized patients aged 12 to 18 who required life support, all were unvaccinated.
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