Mayo Clinic discovers possible link between COVID-19 infections, new diabetes cases

Updated: Feb. 9, 2021 at 7:57 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KEYC) — The Mayo Clinic has discovered a potential link between severe COVID-19 infections and new cases of diabetes.

Recent studies have found that more than 14% of patients who were hospitalized with COVID-19 and recovered also were newly diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

Researchers say it’s not clear yet if diabetes directly results from severe COVID-19 illness, but in the case of Type 2 diabetes, the virus could be accelerating the development of the disease for those with existing risk factors, such as prediabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.

“This individual is predisposed to abnormal glucose characteristics, abnormal glucose regulation, and then severe COVID happens. That’s going to accelerate the progression from this state toward a more uncontrolled state,” said Dr. Yogish Kudva, a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist whose clinical focus is diabetes.

Mayo says there is still much to be learned about the long-term effects of COVID-19, but it is clear that people with diabetes are at higher risk for developing severe illness from the virus.

“It appears now that people with diabetes seem to develop more severe COVID-19 disease. It’s not that people with diabetes are more prone to COVID-19, but if they develop COVID-19, the disease is much more severe and seems to progress quicker. That seems to happen both with Type 2 and Type 1 diabetes,” added Kudva.

Mayo says it’s important to immediately begin improving underlying health conditions that may cause diabetes and follow COVID-19 safety precautions.

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