Experts are concerned with the number of new diabetes diagnoses in children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is a phenomenon that occurs in Costa Rica and around the world. In our country alone, we went from having about 60 new patients in a year to 105 during the health emergency.
The cases correspond to minors with an average age of 10 who have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, which develops in children with a genetic predisposition.
The big question is: Why was the increase given at that very moment?
Dr Eric Richmond, head of endocrinology at the National Children’s Hospital, assures that there is still no known cause worldwide, but several theories have already begun to emerge.
“The reason why there is now a higher number of diabetics per year is not entirely clear. It is believed, and it is a theory, that the virus has had a significant effect, and this is something that has been demonstrated for many years. Has been done. Other viruses highlight this whole situation,” he said.
That is, SARS-CoV-2 may be related, not as a cause, but as a trigger. He said that the symptoms of diabetes can appear after a strong viral infection.
The fact that “perhaps people investigate more” was completely dismissed as a global phenomenon.
What is even more shocking is that during 2022, when the epidemic went into a slight recession, so did these diagnoses. In Costa Rica the data dropped from 105 to 75 cases per year. However, it has not yet returned to pre-pandemic normalcy, and they fear it will not.
Some warning signs for parents are intense thirst in minors, as well as excessive urge to urinate frequently and weight loss. These will appear regardless of the child’s lifestyle, as it can be Type 1 (genetics) or Type 2 (habits).
The doctor said, “The diagnosis of diabetes changes the life of the child and his family forever. It is no longer the same in terms of routine activities, food, physical activity.”
long term results
According to Richmond, the high number of diagnoses among minors will have medium and long-term consequences for the health system.
“This represents a long-term increase in the number of adults with diabetes because diabetes is not curable, so once diagnosed the child will be diabetic forever. It represents a long-term burden on the health system, they are chronic patients, ” Told.
Currently, the children’s hospital administers at least 500 diabetic patients, ranging in age from one year to adolescence.