HomeLifestyleHealth & FitnessCOVID-induced blood sugar spike may only be temporary, says new research

COVID-induced blood sugar spike may only be temporary, says new research

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Diabetic symptoms associated with Coronavirus infection are not always indicative of long-term disease development, according to a new study.

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University, and Boston Children’s Hospital did a study in Boston. They found that a majority of people who have diabetes after infection have their blood sugar return to normal soon after they get sick.

After being released from the hospital, over half of the patients who were diagnosed with diabetes unexpectedly saw their condition improve.

In the trial, less than ten percent of individuals who needed insulin a year later still needed it.

There’s also a likelihood that many of the individuals who were diagnosed with diabetes after being hospitalized with Covid already had the disease and didn’t know it.

Researchers analyzed data from 1,902 Covid patients from the pandemic’s first two waves from March to September 2020 and published their findings last month in the Journal of Diabetes and Complications.

Patients were also re-contacted in July 2021 for a final follow-up.

594 people in the research experienced diabetes symptoms, and 77 had a new diagnosis that was thought to be related to their Covid infection.

Those 77 patients had more severe Covid than the 500 other diabetic patients, but their blood sugar levels were lower.

“Diabetes diagnosed at COVID-19 presentation is associated with lower glucose but higher inflammatory markers and ICU admission, suggesting stress hyperglycemia as a major physiologic mechanism,” the team reported.

64 individuals who were diagnosed with diabetes following a Covid stay survived their infection and were followed up with researchers 30 days later, whereas 26 had their blood sugar levels return to normal or pre-diabetes.

36 people in the group still had diabetes, and two couldn’t be classified.

Following a follow-up nearly a year later, 16 participants of the diabetic group were doing well and didn’t require medication.

Only five people needed regular insulin to live, while 15 took oral medication to control their illness.

While it’s possible that acute Covid causes a temporary surge in blood sugar as a result of the inflammatory response, researchers don’t feel it’s a significant concern.

They also suggest that many of these people may have had undiagnosed diabetes before becoming infected, which they only discovered when they went to the hospital for treatment and had tests done on them.

“10 individuals in this cohort were believed to have [Covid-caused diabetes] by their admitting teams but were found to have evidence of prior hyperglycemia upon detailed chart review, including review of outside hospital record,” they added. 

Diabetes puts people at a higher risk of severe Covid infection than others, increasing the likelihood of this suspicion.

There’s also a likelihood that some of the people who have had diabetes for a long time are part of the ‘long Covid’ group, which has Covid symptoms long after they’ve recovered.

Symptoms of inflammation, also known as a multisystem inflammatory syndrome, are among the most frequent. This diabetes, according to researchers, is the source of the body’s inflammatory response to Covid.

Source: 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2022.108145

Image Credit: Getty

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