OU Doctors See Possible Link Between COVID-19 And Pediatric Diabetes

Feb 9, 2021

Experts at OU Health are seeing a rise in children admitted with diabetes, and they hypothesize it could be linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This started back in March with the COVID pandemic, and since then we've been following our numbers of diabetes and they have risen quite a bit," said pediatric endocrinologist and associate professor of pediatrics Dr. Jeanie Tryggestad. "We've seen that not only in our new onset patients, but those that are having new onset diabetes and being admitted into our ICUs."

"We have been able to look back in our section over the last five years of data, and we're seeing a pretty dramatic increase, approaching 20% just in this one-year time frame," Tryggestad said, adding that increases have been seen in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

She said there are several studies underway to examine a possible link and pointed to a recent Washington Post story showing the phenomenon is being observed by experts and physicians elsewhere.

"They're seeing this across the country," Tryggestad said. "So it at least makes us think that there is something going on with COVID."

Tryggestad said parents should watch for increased urination, increased thirst and weight loss, which could be early signs of diabetes in their children and reasons to consult a doctor.