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“Diabetes in COVID-19 patients may be transitory”

Many COVID-19 patients newly diagnosed with diabetes during hospital admission may in fact have a temporary form of the disease related to the acute stress of the viral infection, it is claimed.

Normal blood sugar levels may return soon after discharge, a study has found.

High rates of newly diagnosed diabetes mellitus have been reported in COVID-19 hospital admissions around the world.

But it is still unclear if this represents truly new diabetes or previously undiagnosed cases, what the cause of these elevated blood sugars may be, and whether patients’ blood sugars improve after resolution of COVID-19 infection.

Lead author Sara Cromer, said: “We believe that the inflammatory stress caused by COVID-19 may be a leading contributor to ‘new-onset’ or newly diagnosed diabetes.”

The team looked at 594 individuals who exhibited signs of diabetes mellitus when admitted to hospital at the height of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. Of that group, 78 had no known diagnosis of diabetes prior to admission. Researchers learned that many of these newly diagnosed patients had less severe blood sugar levels but more severe COVID-19.

Follow-up with this cohort after hospital discharge revealed that roughly half its members reverted to normal blood sugar levels and that only eight percent required insulin after one year.

Image credit | iStock

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