Is COVID-19 causing new-onset diabetes in children with multisystem inflammatory syndrome?


Dr. S Geethalakshmi, Consultant Endocrinologist, Pragathi Endocrine clinic and Dr Kamakshi memorial hospital, Chennai

The multisystem inflammatory syndrome is an unusual complication of COVID-19 infection seen in children who have recently got infected with the coronavirus. COVID-19 has triggered the new-onset of diabetes in children.
What is Multisystem Inflammatory syndrome?
Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a clinical condition characterized by the inflammation of different parts of the body, including the lungs, heart, kidneys, brain, gastrointestinal organs, skin, or eyes. The doctors are yet to know the exact cause for Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. However, many children developed MIS-C after getting infected with the coronavirus. The MIS-C, if left untreated, can lead to severe or fatal consequences. 
What are the symptoms of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome?
Children with MIS-C exhibit the following symptoms:
 Pain in abdomen
 Pain/ tightness in the chest
 Fatigue
 Diarrhea
 Headache
 Bloodshot eyes
 Pain in the neck
 Vomiting
 Giddiness
 Low blood pressure levels
However, some children may exhibit different symptoms.
How is COVID-19 causing new-onset type1 diabetes in children with
multisystem inflammatory syndrome?
COVID-19 has affected everyone, and children are no exception. Earlier children did not show any severe complications associated with the coronavirus infection. But with frequent mutations of the coronavirus, children are also at risk to develop COVID-19 severe related complications.

With an increase in the number of children infected with coronavirus, doctors noted that many of the children who were previously infected with coronavirus developed type1 diabetes. Some doctors also reported that many children who developed type1 diabetes after getting infected with COVID-19 exhibited symptoms of Diabetic Ketoacidosis. Diabetic
ketoacidosis can affect kidneys, brains, and other organs. Sometimes diabetic ketoacidosis can alter the blood electrolyte levels. If left untreated diabetic ketoacidosis can cause fatal complications, especially in people with low blood insulin levels. 

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Researchers have found that the coronavirus destroys the Beta cells present in the pancreas. These Beta cells are responsible for the production of insulin. Therefore, any damage to the Beta cells directly affects the production of insulin. If there is reduced or no insulin production in the body, the blood sugar levels rise, leading to complications.
How to protect your child from COVID-19?
“Prevention is better than cure.” 
Prevention is always better. Even the thought of your child getting infected with COVID-19 might send chills to your spine. Thus, being a parent, you must ensure your child’s safety against coronavirus by taking the following care:
 Encourage frequent hand wash.
 Disinfect frequently contacted surfaces regularly.
 Ensure that your children are not physically in close contact with
 Encourage your child to wear a mask when they go outside.
 Wash soft toys regularly and disinfect the toys of your children
 Avoid going out and stay indoors.
We know our children are the apple of our eyes. By taking the necessary
care and precaution, we can reduce the risk of getting infected with the