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New research links COVID-19 to Type 1 diabetes diagnosis


EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) - Concerning news for those who have recovered from COVID-19. New research suggests that the virus may damage the pancreas and cause diabetes.

Medical experts say the COVID-19 virus attacks cells within the body, causing damage, especially to cells that are critical in preventing diabetes.

According to Dr. Ken Johnson, the chief medical officer at Prevea Health, it can cause the body to decrease insulin production and result in developing Type 1 diabetes.

"One of the places that we found it does attack cells are some cells in the pancreas called beta cells. What their function is, is they make insulin. If you destroy enough of the insulin-making cells, your body doesn't have the insulin it needs to control your blood sugar, and you develop diabetes," Johnson said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year. Type 1 diabetes diagnosis is most common in teens and young adults.

Johnson said he has not seen any COVID-19 cases linked to diabetes at Prevea Health yet, but anyone who has had COVID-19 should be on the lookout for symptoms of extreme thirst, an increase in urination, weight loss or fatigue.

If you experience any of those, schedule an A1C test immediately.

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