YOUR LIFE YOUR HEALTH

CDC study: Diabetes may be more likely for some kids recovering from COVID-19  

Jan 21, 2022, 5:10 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 6:14 pm

Bella Staker, age 6, got type 1 diabetes a few days after contracting COVID-19. (KSL TV)...

Bella Staker, age 6, got type 1 diabetes a few days after contracting COVID-19. (KSL TV)

(KSL TV)

DRAPER, Utah — There’s a worrisome trend among some kids recovering from COVID-19. Children who’ve had the virus appear to have an increased risk of getting both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.  

At 6 years old, Bella Staker can make just about anything fun, even needles.  

She knows how to test her blood sugar by herself, and how to read her glucose meter.  

Last November, Bella was diagnosed with COVID-19. A few days later, she was in the emergency room with severe symptoms.  

“Not being able to wake up; the sweating the throwing up, not wanting to move,” said Brandy Staker, Bella’s mother, who lives in Draper.  

Doctors diagnosed her with Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that has no cure.  

It’s a life-changing worry for her and her mom.

“When she’s at school, I have her nurse on speed dial in case I get an alarm on my phone saying, ‘Hey, she’s low,’” Staker said. “I call her because at any point, she can go into a seizure if she gets low enough. And that could affect her brain, her nervous system, everything.”  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 might induce diabetes in some children and teens.  

Scientists found that children 18 and younger were more likely to get diabetes 30 days after having COVID-19 than those who didn’t get the virus.  

One data set showed a 2.6 times higher risk; the other, a 30% increase.  

Bella Staker, age 6, got type 1 diabetes a few days after contracting COVID-19.  Her mom Brandy Staker said it's been a life-changing worry. (KSL TV) Brandy Staker said, "She (Bella) has FOMO in a way: fear of missing out on everything."  (KSL TV)

That’s consistent with what doctors are seeing at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.  

“In 2021, we had about a 25% increase in diabetes, both Type 1 and Type 2,” Dr. Scott Clements, a pediatric endocrinologist at Primary Children’s, said.

Clements said he’s not surprised by the study’s results.

“Type 1 diabetes can often be triggered by environmental factors, such as viruses and other things. COVID could therefore be a trigger.”  

Type 1 diabetes is most common in Utah children and teens. That’s why it’s so important to know the symptoms.

“Increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, weight loss, vomiting, and those are urgent symptoms, and kids need to be evaluated more quickly,” Clements said.  

Both the CDC and Clements urge parents to get kids five and up vaccinated.  

“There’s a potential that that will then prevent some cases of Type 1 diabetes,” Clements said.  

Staker said, “She (Bella) has FOMO in a way: fear of missing out on everything.”  

Despite her new diagnosis, Staker has high hopes for Bella.

“It’s something that shouldn’t hold her back in life,” she said.  

Staker hopes to leave the surprises for playtime.  

Doctors said both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are increasing rapidly in Utah.  

Along with getting vaccinated, the risk of Type 2 diabetes can be decreased by following a healthy lifestyle.  

“Whether that’s going to your local gym, going to a local community center, finding access to help keep your kid with a healthy lifestyle, access to healthy food and fruits and vegetables,” Clements said.  

Teens with Type 2 diabetes may have no symptoms other than weight gain and darkening of the skin around the neck, which is called acanthosis nigricans.  

“It’s very easy to miss. Almost every family says they thought it was dirt,” Clements said. “They’ve told their kid to wash their neck to get it off, but it doesn’t come off.”  

If an overweight teen has the darkening of the skin around the neck, they should see their primary care provider and get checked for Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, according to experts at Intermountain Healthcare.  

Local programs to help families make lifestyle changes include Healthy Habits Healthy Families, offered by Intermountain Healthcare.  

The intensive, six-month weekly program for children focuses on nutrition, physical activity and behavior change.  

The program includes visits with a dietitian and physical therapist, as well as virtual and in-person small group activities.

KSL 5 TV Live

Your Life Your Health

Chris and Aimee Tyler, speaking about their experience with Chris's pancreatic cancer diagnosis....

Emma Benson

‘Cancer can affect anybody’: Utah couple processes pancreatic cancer diagnosis

Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. and often goes undetected until it's advanced. One Utah County man is fighting for more time with his loved ones.

19 hours ago

Ruth Norton uses the ArthroFit gym to help senior patients prevent, prepare for and recover from su...

Emma Benson

Intermountain program helps seniors fight joint pain, recover from surgery

Ruth Norton has had her fair share of health challenges, including double-knee surgery, open-heart surgery, and breast cancer. 

8 days ago

...

Emma Benson

‘The place we love isn’t healthy’: Millcreek couple weighs decision of moving due to poor air quality

No one is immune to the dangers of air pollution. What if you had to choose between staying in Utah while risking a premature death, or leaving behind family, your career, and your roots to move somewhere new for the sake of your health? One Millcreek couple is facing that exact scenario. #yourlifeyourhealth

15 days ago

Jayde St. Clair (left) with her newborn child being held by her husband....

Emma Benson

How childbirth education classes can help moms prepare for labor

Intermountain Health is offering prenatal courses for parents that cover everything from pregnancy to labor and delivery to postpartum care.

22 days ago

Steve Adams on dialysis...

Emma Benson

Are you at risk for kidney disease? 

Steve Adams is not afraid of making friends, even at the dialysis center. 

29 days ago

Chris and Amy Pendleton chat in their Midway home. Doctors are treating Chris Pendleton's advanced ...

Emma Benson

New treatment helps Midway man live with advanced prostate cancer

Approximately one out of eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. Chris Pendleton, of Midway, was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. Thanks to a new treatment, he can continue to enjoy doing the things he loves.

1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

CDC study: Diabetes may be more likely for some kids recovering from COVID-19