January 10, 2022

Kids who test positive for COVID-19 may have an increased risk for diabetes, according to new CDC data. This is yet another reason doctors urge vaccinations for children. Via MedPageToday.com:

Looking at two different data sources, the risk of being newly diagnosed with diabetes -- including type 1, type 2, and other types of diabetes -- was significantly higher for those with COVID-19 compared with those who never tested positive for the virus, reported Sharon Saydah, PhD, of the CDC COVID-19 Emergency Response Team, and colleagues in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Incidence of diabetes was significantly higher among kids with COVID-19 versus those without the infection in both the HealthVerity (HR 1.31, 95% CI 1.20-1.44) and IQVIA healthcare (HR 2.66, 95% CI 1.98-3.56) claims databases.

This link to diabetes appeared to be specific to COVID-19. To confirm, the researchers compared the IQVIA cohort with cases of non-COVID-related acute respiratory infections (ARI) prior to the pandemic. Those with COVID-19 had more than a twofold higher risk for developing new-onset diabetes compared to those with other respiratory infections (HR 2.16, 95% CI 1.64-2.86).

It's not a complete surprise, since many studies have demonstrated the association between SARS-CoV-2 infection and diabetes in adults.

While the exact mechanism of this link isn't yet known, Saydah and colleagues suggested it might involve pancreatic cells. "COVID-19 might lead to diabetes through direct attack of pancreatic cells expressing angiotensin converting enzyme 2 receptors, through stress hyperglycemia resulting from the cytokine storm and alterations in glucose metabolism caused by infection, or through precipitation of prediabetes to diabetes," they wrote.

CDC researchers recommend that healthcare providers should monitor their pediatric patients for diabetes in the months following a COVID-19 infection.

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