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Diabetes & COVID-19: Cause For Concern?

As the global pandemic continues to rage on, medical professionals and scientists are hard at work looking at intersections between the virus and other health issues. One significant area of study has been diabetes, given how ubiquitous it is in America and globally. In this blog, we take a look at the current findings on the links between diabetes and COVID-19.

COVID-19 May Be Triggering Diabetes

COVID-19 isn’t just deadlier for people with diabetes, it may be triggering metabolic issues in people who didn’t have them pre-COVID. Scientists aren’t sure how the virus is creating this effect, though some expect the pancreas may be damaged by the virus. Some children even seem to be developing some type of diabetes after getting the virus, even if the infection was relatively mild.

As of now, these findings are still in their early stages and need much more supporting evidence before they are taken up by larger health organizations. The CDC website and the American Diabetes Association both echo the sentiment that the full extent of COVID-19’s effects on diabetes are not fully realized.

COVID-19 & Pre-Existing Type-2 Diabetes

In addition to potentially causing diabetes in some people, some preliminary evidence suggests that COVID-19 is likelier to cause issues among those who already have diabetes. Most research has been conducted with a focus on Type-2 diabetes, but more studies are being conducted with Type-1 diabetes as the focus.

According to a recent study, type-2 diabetes disproportionately affects COVID-19 mortality risk in middle aged adults. Information supporting this assertion came from independent researchers in the UK using data points from various large studies. They triangulated information from these sources to uncover this worrying pattern in COVID-19 patients with diabetes. This relationship may need some further study before it can be officially announced by the CDC and other major organizations.

There isn’t enough evidence to suggest that people with diabetes are more likely to contract COVID-19, but there is evidence to suggest that diabetes may make any complications worse. This is in line with the general observation that pre-existing conditions can make COVID-19 more debilitating and even fatal in some cases.

Having well-managed diabetes can improve your chances, though, as opposed to having a more serious case of diabetes. Viral infections can increase inflammation in people with diabetes.

What About Type-1 Diabetes and Ketoacidosis?

Diabetes type-1 may elicit more aggressive symptoms from COVID-19 than Type-2 diabetes, but the CDC is monitoring the information and statistics closely as they come in.

The ADA also states that viral infections may increase the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA for short. This condition is characterized by an extremely high level of ketones in the body, which happens when the body cannot produce enough insulin. While there is a low likelihood of this happening, it is definitely something to keep in mind.

Let Our Team Help You!

No matter what stage of diabetes you are in, it’s very important that you have good information on managing your condition and a qualified team behind you. At Diabetes & Endocrinology Specialists of El Paso, we pride ourselves on helping countless patients manage and lessen the effects of diabetes in the Sun City.

For more information, give us a call or stop by our office to speak with a member of the team!


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