Diabetes Almost Doubles COVID Mortality Risk

Diabetes - person measures blood glucose
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Compared to those without diabetes, the COVID mortality risk for people with diabetes is almost double, with almost three times the risk of being critically or severely ill, according to a review of research by researchers from the University of Aberdeen.

Fortunately, the review study, which is published in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, also found that good management of the condition can mitigate against the risks.

Specifically, it was found that while diabetes presents a significant risk of severe illness and death with COVID, good glycaemic control in these patients can mitigate this risk.

The researchers reviewed findings from 158 studies, encompassing more than 270 000 participants from around the world to determine COVID’s impact on people with diabetes.

The pooled results showed that people with diabetes were 1.87 times more likely to die with COVID, 1.59 times more likely to be admitted to ICU, 1.44 times more likely to require ventilation, and 2.88 times more likely to be classed as severe or critical, when compared to patients without diabetes.

This is the first time a study has looked at the risks of COVID in patients with diabetes while factoring in the patients’ location and thereby highlighting potential healthcare resources available as well as possible ethnic differences and other societal factors.

Patients in China, Korea and the Middle East were found to be at higher risk of death than those from EU countries or the US. This, they suggested, may be the result of differences in healthcare systems and affordability of healthcare which may explain the finding that maintaining optimal glycaemic control, significantly reduces adverse outcomes in patients with diabetes and COVID.

Stavroula Kastora, who worked on the study explained: “We found that following a COVID infection, the risk of death for patients with diabetes was significantly increased in comparison to patients without diabetes.

“Equally, collective data from studies around the globe suggested that patients with diabetes had a significantly higher risk of requiring an intensive care admission and supplementary oxygen or being admitted in a critical condition in comparison to patients without diabetes.

“However, we found that the studies that reported patient data from the EU or US displayed less extreme differences between the patient groups. Ultimately, we have identified a disparity in COVID outcomes between the eastern and western world. We also show that good glycaemic control may be a protective factor in view of COVID-related deaths.

“In light of the ongoing pandemic, strengthening outpatient diabetes clinics, ensuring consistent follow up of patients with diabetes and optimising their glycaemic control could significantly increase the chances of survival following a COVID infection.”

Source: University of Aberdeen

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