A recent study has revealed a concerning link between COVID-19 and diabetes. A research published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology recently revealed that the people who get COVID-19 have a “greater risk of developing diabetes up to a year later, even after a mild SARS-CoV-2 infection, compared with those who never had the disease.” The study was conducted on more than 200,000 people.
“When this whole pandemic recedes, we’re going to be left with the legacy of this pandemic — a legacy of chronic disease” for which health-care systems are unprepared, says study co-author Ziyad Al-Aly, chief researcher for the Veterans Affairs (VA) St Louis Healthcare System in Missouri as quoted in Nature journal.
The latest study reveals alarming details that people who had had COVID-19 were about 40 percent more likely to develop diabetes up to a year later than were veterans in the control groups. This means that for every 1,000 people studied in each group, around 13 more individuals in the COVID-19 group were diagnosed with diabetes.
Another study also found that young people are more vulnerable to be diagnosed as diabetic following their COVID-19 infection as compared to those who didn’t contract the COVID-19 or other infectious respiratory diseases before the pandemic. The study was based on the records of more than 500,000 people aged under 18 who had COVID-19.
Several other recent studies also associate diagnosis of diabetes with COVID-19 infection. Another US study conducted among people of older age groups found the same patterns in their examination of over four million patients. The researchers found that most of the diabetes cases were type 2. Another german study had also found similar results after studying the medical records of more than eight million patients.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes or diabetes mellitus is a disease which occurs when the glucose in human blood also known as blood sugar is too high. There are various types of diabetes each type has one thing in common–they influence the affected body’s ability to to produce or respond to the hormone, insulin. According to doctors and health experts, the high blood sugar from diabetes if left untreated can damage your nerves, eyes, kidneys, and other organs. The general symptoms of diabetes include:
-Sores that don’t heal
India and Diabetes
India is often considered as the diabetes capital of the world. According to the International Diabetes Federation estimated that 72.9 million adults in India were living with diabetes in 2017. According to the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, the prevalence of diabetes in India has risen from 7.1% in 2009 to 8.9% in 2019 and currently India ranks second after China in the global diabetes epidemic with 77 million people with diabetes. Meanwhile, a majority of the people are unaware that they have diabetes which consequently dealays their treatment. The India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative Diabetes study collaborators reported that the prevalence and number of people with diabetes in India increased from 5.5% and 26.0 million in 1990 to 7.7% and 65.0 million in the year 2016.
How COVID-19 and diabetes related?
Health experts have cited several possibilities associated between links of COVID-19 and diabetes and one of them is considered to be the inflammation caused by the virus that leads to insulin resistance, which is a feature of type 2 diabetes. Another possibility is related to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) , a protein found on the surface of cells, which SARS-CoV-2 gets attached to . Several studies maintain that the coronavirus can enter and infect insulin-producing cells through ACE2, which may lead to the death of cells or change in their work format. Consequently, this could mean people are not able to produce enough insulin, leading to diabetes.