Covid May Increase The Risk Of Diabetes In Children

kids who get covid at higher risk for developing diabetes
(Marko Geber / Getty Images)

According to researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children who recover from Covid-19 appear to be at a higher risk for developing Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes

It’s so difficult to keep up with everything Covid-related. Do at-home tests work? If home tests do work, where the hell can I find one? What does this all mean for my kids as everyone returns to school post-holidays?

And then there’s the question of Long Covid, which we are learning more and more about as we enter year three (yes, really) of the pandemic. On Jan. 7, 2022, researchers at the CDC reported that children who recover from Covid-19 might be at a higher risk for developing diabetes post-Covid, both Type 1 and Type 2. Past studies have shown increased risk of diabetes in adults who have recovered from Covid, and research in Europe earlier found a higher rate of diabetes diagnoses in children since the pandemic started.

The CDC’s study is more extensive than previous research, going over the medical records of nearly 2 million children. The study examined two large insurance claim databases in the U.S., comparing the number of diabetes diagnoses in children under 18 who had recovered from Covid-19 with diagnoses in children who had not been diagnosed with Covid-19.

The study found that while both groups of kids had a higher rate of diabetes diagnosis — which experts credit to an increased sedentary pandemic lifestyle — those who previously had Covid-19 also had a 166% increase in diagnoses, whereas those who did not have Covid only had a 30% increase in diabetes diagnoses. While both numbers are high, the 2.6-fold increase in diabetes diagnoses among kids who recovered from Covid is alarming.

Researchers are still trying to find the connection between Covid-19 and post-Covid diabetes diagnoses

According to the study, the connection between Covid-19 and diabetes is “likely complex,” which isn’t surprising, given the wide range of Long Haul Covid symptoms people have reported. “COVID-19 might lead to diabetes through direct attack of pancreatic cells,” the study says. The study also noted that Covid-19 has disproportionately affected minority groups, and children in those groups already face a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes — along with a host of other health risks compounded by the pandemic. Right now, it is unclear whether or not post-Covid diabetes, particularly Type 2, will become chronic conditions for children who develop it.

As if anyone needed any more convincing, the CDC concluded the study urging any and all eligible children 5 and up to receive the vaccine if they have not already done so. The omicron variant has been described as less acute as other strains, but it can still lead to longterm side effects that affect not only longterm health, but finances as well, given the cost of a life-long condition like diabetes. Get vaccinated. Get boosted.