A new study in the JAMA Network Open journal has found an unusual rise in the number of children and teenagers around the world diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes since Covid,
Collating available data from different countries, including the UK, on more than 38,000 young people diagnosed during the pandemic, the authors describe the increase in cases of diabetes they discovered as “substantial”.
Before the pandemic, the incidence rate of childhood Type 1 diabetes was already increasing – by about 3% a year. The recent study found:
- there was a 14% rise in the rate during the first year of the pandemic, compared to before Covid
- in the second year of Covid, the rate was up about 27% on pre-pandemic levels
Some of the rise could be attributed to catch-up – from backlogs and delays when health services were shut – but does not explain all of the newly diagnosed cases, say scientists. There are some theories, one of which is that Covid can trigger a reaction in some children which increases the risk of diabetes. Another is that exposure to some germs in childhood can help guard against a number of conditions, including diabetes, but that the lockdowns and physical distancing during Covid meant that many children did not get sufficient exposure to germs and missed out on this additional protection.
To find out more, CLICK HERE.