Coronavirus infection increases risk of developing insulin resistance

March 24, 2022
Coronavirus infection increases risk of developing insulin resistance

Infection with SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 virus) leads to activation of the immune system and subsequent release of pro-inflammatory signaling substances (cytokines). Studies show that this immune system activity persists for months after a coronavirus infection and even affects the human pancreas thus impairing insulin secretion and effectiveness – a hallmark of diabetes, specifically type 2 diabetes.

Studies also confirm that after COVID-19 disease some patients with no previous history of diabetes developed insulin resistance and had elevated blood glucose levels.

A study to investigate “the incidence of diabetes after infection with SARS-CoV-2” was conducted by researchers from the German Diabetes Center (DDZ), German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) and IQVIA (Frankfurt). It included some 8.8 million patients and a representative panel of 1,171 physician practices across Germany.

During the study period, 35,865 people were diagnosed with COVID-19.

“Our analyses showed that patients with COVID-19 developed type 2 diabetes more frequently than people with AURI (acute upper respiratory tract infections),” said Wolfgang Rathmann, Head of the Epidemiology Research Group at the DDZ. “The incidence of diabetes with COVID-19 infection was 15.8 compared to 12.3 per 1000 people per year with AURI. Statistical analysis resulted in an incidence rate ratio (IRR) of 1.28. Put simply, this means that the relative risk of developing type 2 diabetes was 28% higher in the COVID-19 group than in the AURI group.”

The researchers recommend anyone who has recovered from COVID-19 be alert to the warning signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes, such as fatigue, frequent urination and increased thirst and seek immediate treatment.

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Category: Education, Features

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