Preliminary studies show a possible link between severeInfections and new cases of diabetes in some patients.
Doctors have known for some time that people with diabetes are morefrom the coronavirus, but now scientists are working to see if the virus can also induce some patients to develop new cases of diabetes. Research in the medical journal Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism, as well as other studies, raises concerns that the relationship could go either way.
“Researchers are working like crazy to see if COVID is attacking the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin,” said pediatrician Dr. Dyan Hes on Tuesday on CBSN. “Some studies believe it is, but other studies have repeated that they are not attracted to the beta cell. We still can’t figure out why.”
Almost a year after the pandemic started, effects ofsuch as persistent respiratory complications and mild cognitive impairment have been documented in many patients as well as others , Blood clots, , and . The analysis published in November 2020 found that of 3,700 hospital patients in eight studies, 14.4% were newly diagnosed with diabetes.
“As a pediatrician, we’ve definitely followed up cases of children who had COVID or didn’t even know they had COVID but had type 1 diabetes,” Hes said.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease “in which your body stops producing insulin”. Type 2 is “when your body doesn’t respond to the insulin you have”.
Doctors in Wuhan, China, reported a link between COVID-19 and elevated blood sugar levels back in April 2020.
He noted that it may be related to the treatments some patients are receiving. “When you’re being treated in the hospital for the super sick, they get prednisone, which also increases blood sugar. So does that add to that too?”
Italian scientists also looked at whether these elevated blood sugar levels could lead to diabetes, recognizing a previously understood link between long-term viral infections and the disorder. This study, published last May, recognized the need for more research to be carried out before any conclusion can be drawn.
He said it was “not surprising” that a viral infection like COVID-19 could cause type I diabetes, but the medical background of these patients needs research. “We have to follow the patients and see if they actually had a family history of autoimmune or type I diabetes, or was it just COVID? Was that the only risk factor?”
Leading diabetes researchers in the UK and Australia are setting up a global registry of coronavirus-related diabetes cases. In an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that it was “plausible” that the effects of COVID-19 on the body’s ability to metabolize glucose were either complicating existing insulin levels or causing new problems Onset of diabetes.
Francesco Rubino, professor of diabetes surgery at King’s College London, told the Washington Post that the registry already had over 150 names and received responses from more than 350 institutions around the world. Rubino and other researchers suggested that the global study “may reveal new disease mechanisms.”
Dr. Noting that the studies were preliminary, Hes recognized the obvious link but said more research was needed to understand it.
“It’s too early to say,” she said. “We need big numbers to predict this.”