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Is Covid-19 triggering diabetes in patients? Let’s find out

Updated on:18 June 2021, 18:20pm IST
Covid-19 has brought with it a range of health complications, including type 2 diabetes. But why is it so?
Geetika Sachdev
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Is diabetes caused by the impact of Covid-19? Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Covid-19 has really thrown our lives off track, more so because we still can’t predict how it’s going to impact us! Yes ladies, even after a year-and-a-half, there isn’t enough evidence to establish how the virus impacts several organs in our body. With every new mutation comes an altogether different theory, and making sense of time is another ball game. But this time around, there’s some strong evidence that establishes the link between Covid-19 and diabetes. 

We’ve heard that having co-morbidities like diabetes can increase the risk of Covid-19 but also mortality, but now it is being said that diabetes can also be a consequence of the viral infection. Yes, this has been claimed by various studies conducted in the USA, China and UK. 

So why does Covid trigger diabetes?

One of the possible reasons for this is that it may directly attack the beta cells of the pancreas. Due to this, there can be a spike in blood sugar levels, and eventually over time, it can turn into diabetes. Other mechanisms are indirect – for instance, Covid-19 can cause an increase in cytokine and trigger inflammation in the body. Diabetes can also be caused by problems of the intestinal luminal lining. Also, the impact of steroids, oxygen and anticoagulation as a consequence of the treatment. It can also worsen the condition in those who are already suffering from diabetes.

The link between Covid-19 and diabetes. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
How can you diagnose diabetes?

Your condition can be checked by doing a test called an HbA1c or the glycated hemoglobin test. When the value of HbA1c is greater than 6.5 at or before having Covid-19, these are not triggered by the virus. This can be a case of diabetes diagnosed incidentally at the time of infection.

How can you manage diabetes triggered by Covid-19?

All Covid-19 patients must be tested for diabetes when they are admitted to a hospital for your treatment. The testing must be increased if you are on steroids, and later too, there must be a follow-up to check for the onset of diabetes. Make sure your blood sugar levels are checked a month post-recovery to know better. Also, look out for signs like weight loss, thirst, hunger, frequent urination, and tiredness. 

Also, ensure you lead a healthy lifestyle — eat a nutritious diet, exercise regularly and get adequate sleep. If you still have issues, visit an endocrinologist. 

Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.