Covid: The condition making you 50% more at risk of complications – are you affected?

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A new study has found that certain people with type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk of COVID-19 complications. Those with the diagnosis are nearly 50 percent more likely to end up in intensive care once they’ve contracted the virus.

The new study published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care has discovered that people with type 2 diabetes are almost 50 percent more likely to wind up in intensive care if they have “poorly” managed their blood sugar over the long term.

The researchers compared those with “poor” blood sugar management to those with better long-term glycemic control.

The study focused on several potential impacts to coronavirus severity among diabetic patients.

However, this study has also found that diabetes patients on a common medication have a lower risk of Covid complications.

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The study looked at records of more than 16,000 people with type 2 diabetes and coronavirus.

The researchers had been looking at these records throughout 2017 to 2020.

The researchers divided the records into two groups, those with “poor” glycaemic control and those with “adequate” control.

The sample group with “poor” glycaemic control was 48 percent more likely to need intensive care treatment.

Those with diabetes are not able to control the amount of blood glucose without medication or managing their diet, the study reports.

But long-term high blood sugar levels damage a variety of bodily functions, ranging from the nervous system to the immune system.

Poor glycaemic management creates a reaction which causes molecules known as advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) to pile up.

These end-products are known to contribute to a higher oxidant stress and inflammation, which are risk factors for coronavirus as well as other respiratory illnesses. 

The team was initially looking into blood sugar control and bone fracture risk. 

However, the researchers found their findings could also be “useful” in predicting the severity of Covid.

The study evidence also suggests that diabetes patients on medication called metformin had a 12 percent lower risk of needing intensive care unit.

Those on metformin and insulin treatment had an 18 percent lower risk; and those on corticosteroids had a 29 percent lower risk. 

Bowen Wang, first author and a doctoral student in Vashishth’s lab said: “People knew that diabetes was a risk factor for COVID-19-related outcomes, but not all diabetic patients are the same. 

“Some people have a longer history of diabetes, some have more severe diabetes, and that has to be accounted for.

“What this study does is to better stratify the level of diabetes within the population, so diabetic patients aren’t treated as a single population without any differences among them.”

The researchers are hoping that these findings will help doctors in treating and managing higher risk patients. 



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