Researchers have now homed in on four factors which may trigger the worrying rise in diabetes diagnoses following COVID-19 infection, according to the American Diabetes Daily blog. The first could be simply pre-existing diabetes worsened by increased obesity, lack
of exercise and stress caused by global lockdowns, and higher rates of diabetes detection when people who are unaware they have the condition, are infected with COVID-19 and diagnosed with diabetes in hospital.
A second cause could be the anti-inflammatory steroid drugs used in hospitals to tackle the infection. Steroids are already known to induce diabetes at a ‘terrifyingly high rate’ because they raise blood sugar as a side effect. Thirdly, there is a well-known phenomenon of stress hyperglycemia where severe infection or illness causes blood sugar to rocket even in healthy people. With COVID-19 infection the damage caused by the disease and the associated immune response can cause severe hyperglycemia. Although the condition is usually
temporary, it can cause long term blood sugar control difficulties long after the COVID-19 infection has cleared.
The fourth factor is a potentially lethal lack of insulin caused by the COVID-19 related destruction of Beta-cells in the pancreas, which are designed to trigger insulin release. This in turn can lead to lethal diabetic ketoacidosis. Other studies have shown some severely affected COVID-19 patients have developed diabetes months after they have apparently recovered.
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