MONDAY, June 6, 2022 (HealthDay News) — New research suggests that diabetes increases the odds of a severe COVID-19 infection, and people with diabetes may be up to four times more likely to develop long-term symptoms.
Study author Jessica Harding, associate professor at the University of North Carolina, said, “Although more data is needed, some early studies suggest that diabetes may be a prolonged risk factor for COVID-19, and therefore it may be advised that patients with diabetes be carefully monitored for their development of COVID-19. long-term”. Epidemiology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.
Prolonged COVID symptoms range from fatigue, shortness of breath and cough to brain fog, dizziness, and changes in taste or smell. These symptoms may come and go or persist and can persist for months after the initial infection with COVID, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
How diabetes may increase the risk of contracting Covid for so long is still not fully understood, but several theories exist.
“Diabetes is a chronic disease with inflammation,” said Dr. Len Horowitz, a pulmonologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, who was not part of the study. “Anything that amplifies this inflammatory condition may lead to persistent inflammation or a prolonged COVID.”
For the new study, Harding and her colleagues examined studies looking at prolonged COVID symptoms in people with and without diabetes. In all, 43% of seven studies included in the new analysis identified diabetes as a strong risk factor for prolonged coronavirus disease.
That’s not the last word on the matter, Harding said, because the studies included in the new analysis included many different groups of people, groups of symptoms, and had multiple follow-up times, making it difficult to come to a conclusive conclusion.
“Vaccines, boosters and masks are the best way to prevent primary COVID-19 infection,” she said. “However, in the event of an injury, it may be advisable [for someone with diabetes] To monitor glucose levels regularly, and adhere to prescribed glucose-lowering agents as appropriate, to reduce and manage the protracted COVID risk.”
The results were presented Sunday at a meeting of the American Diabetes Association, in New Orleans. Results presented at medical meetings are considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The outside experts who reacted to the findings agree that people with diabetes need to redouble their efforts to stay healthy during this ongoing pandemic.
“Having diabetes and COVID-19 may be a risk of experiencing long-term negative consequences of COVID-19,” said Marlon Bragnell, vice president for research and science at the American Diabetes Association. “People with diabetes may have a more serious illness that can appear over a longer period of time.”
The message is clear: “Get a vaccine,” Bragnell said. “You could get a COVID-19 breakthrough, but there are fewer reports of long-term COVID in people who have been vaccinated.”
It is equally important to keep your blood sugar under control if you have diabetes.
“The more your diabetes is headed toward COVID-19, the worse your outcome will be,” Bragnell said.
He pointed out that a healthy diet, regular exercise and maintaining a normal weight are essential to controlling diabetes and staying healthy.
Dr. Eunice Yu, medical director of COVID-19 Recovery Care at Henry Ford Health in Detroit, agrees.
“We are still learning about the mechanisms behind prolonged COVID-19, which will help us better understand why people with diabetes appear to be more susceptible,” she said.
Yu suggested that if you get COVID and you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar more carefully for a few months after infection because diabetes may also be more severe after COVID.
“Good rest, regular exercise and a healthy diet can prevent ongoing damage and help get rid of the virus,” she said.
Yu added that if symptoms of COVID-19 do not improve or new symptoms appear, see your doctor for an evaluation.
“People are getting better,” she said. “We don’t have a magic bullet, but we do have ways to help people who have been suffering from COVID for a long time.”
The American Diabetes Association provides more about how COVID-19 affects people with diabetes.
SOURCES: Jessica Harding, Ph.D., assistant professor, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta; Lynne Horowitz, MD, pulmonologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Marlon Bragnell, Ph.D., vice president for research and science, American Diabetes Association; Eunice Yu, MD, Medical Director, COVID-19 Recovery Care, Henry Ford Health, Detroit; American Diabetes Association meeting, New Orleans, Presentation, June 5, 2022