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High blood sugar in covid-19 patients without diabetes can be deadly: Study

Published on:11 July 2020, 15:47pm IST
More bad news from the covid-19 front. Now a new study says that covid-19 can be fatal for patients who have high blood sugar levels, even if they don’t have diabetes.
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The connection between blood sugar and covid-19 is getting murkier: Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Guys, it’s time for another covid-19 alert. After the news that covid-19 is airborne gripped us, here is another update that has us shook: A study is making dangerous connections between the novel coronavirus infection and high blood sugar levels.   

The study, published in the journal Diabetologia, found that patients with coronavirus who have higher blood sugar levels without a previous diagnosis of diabetes may be at a high risk of death and an increased risk of severe complications from the infectious disease.

So, basically even if you don’t have diabetes–you could be at risk. If you get covid-19 and your blood sugar level rises then it may impact your organs adversely, especially if your immunity isn’t strong enough.

No direct relation with fasting blood glucose has been found yet
According to the scientists, including those from the Tongji Medical College in China, earlier studies had established high blood sugar as associated with an increased risk of mortality and poor outcomes in covid-19 patients.

However, they said that the correlation between fasting blood glucose (FBG) level at admission to hospital and clinical outcomes of covid-19 patients—without diagnosed diabetes has not been well established.

diabetes and covid
Do you know dalia serves as a great meal for Diabetics? Keeps sugar level in check Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“Blood sugar testing and control should be recommended to all covid-19 patients even if they do not have pre-existing diabetes, as most covid-19 patients are prone to glucose metabolic disorders,” they wrote in the study.

Four complications witnessed in patients in the study
The researchers have seen the severity of pneumonia in covid-19 patients based on four indicators:

  1. Level of confusion
  2. Respiratory rate
  3. Blood pressure
  4. Age

It should be noted that according to the study, the median age of participants was 59 years.

A total of 208 individuals had one or more underlying conditions, but were not diagnosed with diabetes, the scientists said, adding that high blood pressure was the most common comorbidity.

The researchers said almost one-third of the patients fell into the highest category of FBG on admission, which they said would result in a diagnosis of type-2 diabetes if found consistently.

Men are at 75% more at risk
Yes, you read it right. Sadly, the researchers have admitted that men were 75% more likely to die than women and that patients with higher CRB65 scores were also at higher risk of death.

“This study shows, for the first time, that elevated FBG at admission is independently associated with increased 28-day mortality and percentages of in-hospital complications in covid-19 patients without a previous diagnosis of diabetes,” the scientists noted in the study.

According to scientists, covid-19 patients might suffer from high blood sugar brought about by other conditions.

They said that critically-ill patients may develop acute insulin resistance, manifested by high levels of blood sugar and insulin levels.

“Patients with conditions not related to diabetes, such as severe sepsis, systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), and traumatic brain injury tend to have abnormally high blood sugar,” the researchers wrote in the study.

More data is needed for a foolproof outcome
According to the researchers, the data is not adequate to study the effect of a glucose-lowering treatment such as insulin on the outcome of the patients.

Having said that, they believe acute hyperglycemia is more important than long-term blood glucose control in predicting the clinical outcomes of hospitalized covid-19 patients.

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The authors suggest that possible mechanisms for this increased mortality include high blood glucose-induced changes in blood clotting, worsening of the function of the walls of blood vessels, and overproduction of the inflammatory immune-system molecules.

Lastly, they said measuring fasting blood glucose levels can facilitate the assessment of prognosis and early intervention to help improve the overall outcomes in coronavirus treatment. 

(With inputs from PTI)

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