Study shows diabetes on the rise in children post COVID

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GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – A new study shows that Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in children are on the rise in the wake of COVID.

The world of diabetes can be confusing and at times overwhelming for patients and families. WSPA found from talking to doctors and parents that there is hope no matter what type you’re dealing with.

A recent study found that new cases of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in children and teens are on the rise.

“From 2019 to 2020 we’ve seen a 64-percent increase in our patients with new onset diabetes of all types. I will tell you that our Type 1 patients have increased dramatically as well,” Chief of the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, Prisma Health, Dr. Elaine Apperson.

Dr. Elaine Apperson works with pediatric diabetic patients and their families and says the trend of increased cases is concerning.

With Type 1, the body does not produce insulin; they need to take insulin every day to stay alive.

Type 2 diabetes, sometimes develops because of eating habits and little exercise; doctors say some cases are directly related to the covid shut down. Dr. Apperson uses the example of a car to explain.

“Before it runs out of gas there are things you can do like unburden the car, unload the car, get healthier, eat less, lose weight, exercise, but sometimes that car ends up running out of gas and that’s when type 2 diabetes requires insulin for therapy,” Dr. Apperson said.

Jennifer Figueroa is helping her healthy 4 year old manage his Type 1, brought on at no fault of their own, his body just doesn’t make insulin. 

Asher wears two devices on his body- one measures the blood glucose and the other holds the insulin, leaving mom and dad to answer a lot of questions.

“And so we just explained to him that his whole body works really well, his eyes work well, his ears work well, his mouth works well, we named all the body parts that work well, except this little part called the pancreas, it’s not working so this is why we have to do it. Child has Type 1 Diabetes,” Jennifer Fiqueroa, said.

Figueroa says it’s important for caregivers not to try to do it alone.

“I would say definitely be on board with your spouse or family member or close friend who can back you up so that you don’t have the full burden, at least find one more person to share that burden with.” Figueroa said.

Although there is no cure for diabetes, doctors say it can be managed, doctors encourage better eating habits and exercise to fight Type 2 diabetes, while research is still underway to find the cause of Type 1.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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