Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, scientists around the globe have been working to understand exactly how the virus impacts long-term health– also known as “long COVID” or “post-COVID” symptoms.
According to the CDC, general symptoms might include fatigue and fever; meanwhile, people may also experience a wide range of respiratory, heart, neurological, and digestive symptoms.
Likewise, research about how children and adolescents are weathering the long COVID storm is still emerging.
But one new study conducted by Case Western Reserve University and the MetroHealth System has actually discovered a link between COVID-19 and type 1 diabetes in children.
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) typically develops between childhood to young adulthood and represents only about five to ten percent of diabetes cases. T1D is also believed to be caused by an autoimmune reaction in which the body mistakenly attacks itself, according to the CDC.
“This reaction destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin, called beta cells. This process can go on for months before any symptoms appear.”
And unfortunately, there is no known way to prevent the onset of T1D. Instead, those with the chronic disease will have to manage their T1D for the rest of their lives with support from various medical professionals.
About one hundred and eighty-seven thousand children and adolescents are currently living with T1D. However, according to the researchers’ study, some kids may be more susceptible to developing this type of diabetes following COVID-19 infection.
The study included the electronic health records of about 1.1 million children and adolescents who were infected by COVID-19 between March 2020 and December 2021.