Sweden Sees Rise In Diabetes Among Young Children — Report

Diabetes diagnoses among children under the age of five have increased in recent years, according to a foundation that supports diabetes research, with the Covid-19 pandemic being one possible explanation.

According to a new report from Barndiabetesfonden (The Child Diabetes Fund), 460 children in Sweden were treated for type 1 diabetes in 2022, up from 283 in 2018, representing a 62% rise.

Barndiabetesfonden stated that about a third of the youngsters required acute care when they were unwell.

Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is a chronic autoimmune disorder in which the body produces no insulin, whereas type 2 diabetes, which is more frequent, is a condition in which the body produces insufficient insulin.

“It is frightening that type 1 diabetes is creeping down in age. It’s something we need to think about how to deal with, both in research and in healthcare,” researcher Ake Lernmark said in a report published by the charity.

The organisation said it was a well-known fact that viral illnesses often preceded type 1 diabetes, and noted that the current Swedish increase coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic.

It also said studies had shown that young children who contracted Covid-19 were more likely to develop type 1 diabetes if the mother had never had Covid prior to the child’s birth.

If the mother had the infection or was vaccinated the risks were lower.

“In some of the children, COVID-19 likely triggered the development of a first antibody,” Lernmark said in the report.

According to the paper, the number of cases of type 1 diabetes had been increasing even before the pandemic, and the sluggish growth seen in the decades preceding the pandemic was thought to be caused by other cold viruses.

It predicted that the association between diabetes cases and Covid-19 would weaken as more people become immune.

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