Increase of diabetes in children possibly linked to pandemic, experts say
Health officials say the pandemic is now impacting children in a different way.
Pediatricians are reporting an increase of diabetes amongst children, and some say it's due to the pandemic.
"The number of kids that we’re seeing that are coming in that have never been diagnosed with diabetes before, especially the Type 1, is doubled what we were having before the pandemic,” said Dr. Mary Dale Peterson, the Chief Operating Officer at Driscoll Health System in Corpus Christi.
Dr. Peterson says that those diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes are typically due to genetics, but a virus can trigger this type of disease.
A Brownsville pediatrician says that he has diagnosed more children after 2020 from ages seven to 14 with a different type of diabetes, saying it’s known as the maturity onset diabetes.
“We’re seeing many factors play a role--staying home, no exercise, eating a lot at home because they have nothing else to do and they’re overweight,” says Dr. Azim Zamir.
Another factor he notes is stress, which affects blood sugar caused by anxiety. What else can trigger diabetes?
According to Dr. Peterson, studies have shown that COVID-19 may infect beta cells of the pancreas, causing insulin to be affected, which raises the risk of diabetes.
Health experts also say that this diabetes can be handled without medication.
“Pay attention to our lifestyles and try to eat healthier and exercise and that protects us and the immune system from all kinds of things,” said Dr. Peterson.
COVID-19 has increased with the delta variant and doctors have reported treating covid patients even before school has started, stating that children contracted the virus from their parents and other family members who were COVID positive.
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