February 24, 2022

Study: COVID-19 linked with increased risk of diabetes in youths

By: Tarsilla Moura

Editor's Note

According to a study in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, COVID-19 increases the risk of and may contribute to new-onset diabetes among children and adolescents, JAMA reports. 

JAMA’s February 22 article notes that data from previous studies showed an average of 14% of adults hospitalized with COVID-19 having new diabetes onset. In this recent study, the authors analyzed about 1.7 million pediatric patients in the IQVIA database, including some 81,000 patients who were diagnosed with COVID-19 between March 2020 and February 2021, to assess the risk of new diabetes onset in children and adolescents.

The study found that young patients diagnosed with COVID-19 were 166% more likely to receive a new diabetes diagnosis than “age- and sex-matched patients” not infected with COVID-19. In addition, COVID-19 infected youths were also 116% more likely to be newly diagnosed with diabetes than “similar patients” who had pre-pandemic acute respiratory infections.

“SARS-CoV-2 may directly cause new-onset diabetes by attacking pancreatic cells that express angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptors,” the study suggested. Other pandemic-related factors that may trigger the condition are infection-related stress hyperglycemia and changes in glucose metabolism. In addition, infection may cause prediabetes to progress to diabetes, the authors noted.


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