Type 2 diabetes doubles in children during the pandemic
Too much of a good thing can be bad for you. Extra screen time is one of them. According to research from one Louisiana hospital, the cases of type 2 diabetes in children doubled during the pandemic. They also increased in severity. When the scientists at Pennington Biomedical Research Center studied the number of hospitalizations, they found it kept rising during 2020. From March to December 2019, the type 2 diabetes rate was at 0.27%, or 8 cases out of 2964 hospitalizations. During the same period in 2020, the rate jumped to 0.62%, with 17 cases out of 2729 hospitalizations.
While the sample is small, coming just from a single hospital, it could represent a microcosm of what’s happening across the US. With less physical activity for many of us during the pandemic, it’s been easier to put on extra weight. It increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and might explain the doubling in cases at Pennington Biomedical Research Center. The children diagnosed in 2020 had much more severe symptoms with higher blood sugar and dehydration. When blood sugar runs high, the body tries to get rid of excess glucose through urination, which causes dehydration.
The Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles also observed more severe cases of type 2 diabetes presenting with diabetic ketoacidosis. A more common complication of type 1 diabetes, it can sometimes occur in type 2 diabetes. At The Children’s Hospital, the rate of diabetic ketoacidosis went from 5-10% to 20% of new type 2 diabetes cases in the past year.
Until recently, children and teens seldom got type 2 diabetes. It is now a growing problem among pediatric patients. Getting diabetes at a young age increases the risk of complications. It’s also a more progressive condition. One of the methods to control type 2 diabetes that seems to work for a lot of patients is a low carbohydrate diet.