COVID Infection May Increase Diabetes Risk Among Kids: US CDC Study

Many studies have found a rise in diabetes diagnosis among those infected with COVID

Shubhangi Shah
Written by: Shubhangi ShahPublished at: Jan 10, 2022Updated at: Jan 10, 2022
COVID Infection May Increase Diabetes Risk Among Kids: US CDC Study

Not just India, several countries are experiencing massive COVID surge, this time accompanied by the spread of the heavily mutated Omicron variant. The United States is one such nation logging a record number of cases never witnessed in any country throughout the pandemic. Driven by Omicron, the country logged over a million new COVID cases on January 3. It is recording such a high number of cases for the past several days. Another trend the country is seeing is a rise in the number of kids hospitalized with COVID-19. Those under the age of five aren’t eligible to get jabbed in the country. Now, a study conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has found that children infected by SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, appear to be at an increased risk of developing diabetes. 

How Was The US CDC Study Conducted?

Kids aren't eligible to get COVID vaccine

(Photo Credit: Pixabay)

For this study, insurance claim databases were analysed.

  • The US CDC analysed millions of datasets from two large databases.
  • The data analysed was about those below the age of 18 who were diagnosed with diabetes.
  • The data spanned from March 2020 to June 2021. 
  • The researchers compared the diabetes diagnosis for those who tested positive for COVID to those who did not.

What Did The Study Find Out?

COVID may increase the risk of diabetes

(Photo Credit: Pixabay)

Children who contracted the novel coronavirus can be at an increased risk of developing type-1 and type-2 diabetes, as per the study.

  • The researchers found a rise in diabetes cases in both the datasets analysed. 
  • The rates, however, were different. In the first, the researchers found a 2.6-fold rise in new diabetes cases. In the second, the same was pegged at 30%.
  • The study termed the link between COVID and diabetes as “complex”. However, it said that COVID might lead to diabetes as the novel coronavirus attacks the cells of the pancreas, which releases insulin, the hormone whose secretion keeps the blood sugar level in check.
  • The study made no distinction between type-1 and type-2 diabetes. 
  • Dr Sharon Saydah, a researcher at the CDC, said that it wasn’t clear if type-2 diabetes post-COVID infection was a chronic condition or something that would resolve with time, several media houses reported. Notably, type-1 diabetes is an irreversible, lifelong condition.
  • Dr Saydah further added that parents and doctors should be aware of the symptoms of diabetes so that they can get the kids diagnosed. Among the symptoms of diabetes are:
  1. Frequent urination
  2. Getting thirsty frequently
  3. Getting very hungry
  4. Fatigue
  5. Blurred vision
  6. Dry skin, etc
  • Drawing a link between the COVID pandemic and diabetes, Dr Saydah said sedentary lifestyle and weight gain have increased during the COVID pandemic, which are the risk factors for diabetes.
  • Notably, most of the kids, who were part of the study, were diagnosed only after they suffered from an episode of diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a life-threatening condition in those suffering from diabetes.

Other Similar Findings

The US CDC’s latest study isn’t the only one to look for a link between COVID infection and diabetes.

  • Europe has seen a rise in the number of kids being diagnosed with type-1 diabetes following COVID infection.
  • Many studies have found a heightened risk of diabetes among those who recovered from COVID.
  • Another study, conducted in November last year, involving 3,800 COVID patients found that a little less than half of the participants had increased blood sugar levels, which is a characteristic of diabetes.

So, as you saw that the cost of COVID isn’t just COVID. It can affect the other aspects of health, too. Hence, it’s crucial to protect yourself against the virus. Hence, wear masks, practice social distancing, avoid crowding, and most importantly, get vaccinated.

Notably, there is a section of the population across countries, which isn’t eligible to get jabbed. Hence, extra precaution should be taken to protect kids from COVID. About the CDC research, Dr Saydah highlighted that it underscores the importance of getting vaccinated for those eligible, and using measures like wearing masks and social distancing for kids, who aren’t eligible to get the jab. Speaking to reporters on Friday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said that pediatric hospitalization due to COVID had reached a record that week. She also underscored the importance of protecting the young from infection. This can be done by surrounding them with vaccinated people to provide protection, the CDC Director said.  

Photo Credit: Pixabay