A rise in child and teen diabetes has been linked to the COVID pandemic

a woman injecting insulin into herself to manage type 1 diabetes

Since Covid, there has been an unusual increase in the number of children and teenagers diagnosed with type 1 diabetes worldwide, according to researchers.

More than 38,000 young people who were diagnosed during the pandemic were the subject of a new study published in JAMA Network Open that compiled the data that was available from various countries, including the UK.

The increase in diabetes cases is referred to by the authors as "substantial.".

They claim that more research is necessary to determine the cause of the rise.

Scientists say that while some of the increase could be explained by catching up on backlogs and delays from when health services were shut down, it does not account for all of the newly diagnosed cases.

The incidence of type 1 diabetes in children was rising by about 3% annually even before the pandemic.

The latest study discovered:.

  • Compared to the year prior to Covid, there was a 14 percent increase in the rate during the first year of the pandemic.
  • The rate was approximately 27% higher than pre-pandemic levels in the second year of Covid.

No matter the cause, more resources and assistance may be required for the growing population of children and teenagers with type 1 diabetes, according to researchers from the University of Toronto.

  • People with the condition must carefully monitor their blood sugar levels and use insulin to control it since their bodies are unable to do so naturally.
  • This is due to the body's immune system accidentally destroying cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
  • Although the causes are not fully understood and there is no known cure, it affects both children and adults.

There are a few theories, but experts say it's unclear what caused the spike in cases.

One such theory contends that Covid may cause a reaction in some kids that raises their risk of developing diabetes. However, not all of the studies looking for this kind of autoimmune reaction — where the body begins to attack some of its own healthy cells — have discovered proof to back up this theory.

Another theory is that early exposure to some germs can protect against a variety of diseases, including diabetes. Some scientists think it's possible that lockdowns and physical segregation during Covid prevented many kids from getting enough contact with germs and deprived them of this extra layer of defense.

The policy director at the type 1 diabetes charity JDRFUK, Hilary Nathan, said: "This research reflects a reality that has changed the lives of so many families in the UK. ".

She urged people to be alert for the four Ts, or tiredness, thirst, needing to urinate more frequently, and weight loss or becoming increasingly thin, which are all signs of type 1 diabetes.

Knowing these symptoms and receiving a prompt diagnosis and treatment could save a life, the expert claimed.

Jo and Theo
Theo uses an insulin pump to manage his diabetes, as seen in the photo with his mother Jo.

A year ago, Theo, now 9 years old, received a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. It took place only a short while after he caught Covid. It was unexpected, according to his mother Jo: "I had no idea what diabetes was.

"Because he wasn't sick with it, I thought the diagnosis was incorrect. That we discovered it quickly is a great blessing.

"You're thinking about how your child is experiencing this. You are being given all of these scientific details about the illness. keep them alive by dot. There are serious repercussions if you don't do it, as you are aware. ".

Sheffield-based Theo, who uses an insulin pump to effectively control his diabetes, is doing well.

According to Dr. Faye Riley of Diabetes UK, research conducted across the globe has revealed a higher-than-expected number of diabetes diagnoses following the Covid-19 pandemic. This research strengthens the evidence.

Future research that looks at longer-term trends will be crucial for separating the pandemic's effects from variations in type 1 incidence that occur naturally over time and for determining the myriad of factors that could be responsible for any apparent increase.

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