How covid diabetes health train wreck
In the weeks and months after their 11-year-old son came down with a mild case of Covid-19, Tabitha and Bryan Balcitis of Crown Point, Indiana, watched him lose weight, feel cranky, and lose energy. They consulted doctors and eventually were surprised to learn that the little boy had type 1 diabetes.
They hoped he’d be cured. He was, but the disease has left him with a lifetime of complications.
The CDC estimates that 20% of the people who got infected with COVID-19 have at least one lingering post-infection symptom like fatigue, weakness, and poor appetite. Those are the kinds of symptoms that can make everyday activities difficult, according to Bruce Walker, director of the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard.
That’s an estimate that may be on the low side, especially considering the tens of millions of people in the U.S. and around the world who might develop diabetes from their COVID-19 infection. But it’s still a significant figure.
It also means that some formerly healthy Covid-19 patients may be developing diabetes as the virus wreaks havoc on their bodies. That’s something that Al-Aly said is a matter of concern.
That’s why he and other scientists are studying what happens to patients after they recover from their infections. That could help determine if the infection is a precursor to diabetes and if it increases their risks of developing the disease again. Researchers are also studying how to improve the care for those who have it, as well as how to prevent them from getting it in the first place.