COVID-19 may trigger the onset of diabetes in healthy people, and also cause severe complications in diabetic patients, according to an international group of 17 leading experts in the chronic condition. As the coronavirus spread further the doctors around the world have been stating that diabetic patients could be at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 related complications. Therefore, the coronavirus could be affecting the pancreas and causing high levels of sugar amongst the patients or high levels of hyperglycemia.
Diabetes is a disorder that causes the blood sugar level to rise. It can also decrease the efficiency of the immune system putting diabetics at a higher risk of contraction of any disease, like the novel coronavirus. However, researchers now state that it is not just people with existing diabetes condition who are affected by the COVID-19, but in fact, the viral infection can trigger new diabetes in absolutely healthy people as well.
A letter has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine. They explained that diabetes, on the one hand, is associated with increased risk of Covid-19 severity and mortality with 20-30 per cent of patients who died with the infectious disease reported to have diabetes. The researchers, on the other hand, say the new-onset diabetes and atypical metabolic complications of pre-existing diabetes-including life-threatening ones-have been observed in people with Covid-19.
The scientists believe the novel coronavirus may alter glucose metabolism that could complicate the condition of pre-existing diabetes or lead to a new mechanisms of disease. However, based on previous research, they said virus infections can also precipitate type 1 diabetes- a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin.
Francesco Rubino, Professor of Metabolic Surgery at King’s College London said “Diabetes is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases and we are now realizing the consequences of the inevitable clash between two pandemics. “We don’t know whether the acute manifestation of diabetes in these patients represents classic type 1, type 2, or possibly a new form of diabetes,” Rubino added.
According to the researchers, assessing the routinely collected clinical data can help examine insulin secretory capacity, insulin resistance, and autoimmune antibody status to understand how Covid-19 related diabetes develops, its natural history, and the best management.
However, the given short period of human contact with the new virus, the exact mechanism by which the coronavirus influences glucose metabolism is still unclear.