Poorly managed diabetes increases chances of more severe COVID

By Cara Murez

Health Day reporter

TUESDAY June 29, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Hospitalized patients with Diabetes who had not taken their medication had more severe cases of COVID-19, according to a new study.

“Our results highlight the importance of assessing, monitoring and controlling blood sugar [sugar] in COVID-19 hospital patients from the start, ”said study author Sudip Bajpeyi, associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Texas at El Paso. He spoke in a press release from the American Diabetes Association, which held its virtual annual meeting on Friday, when presenting the study.

Almost one in five Americans with diabetes said that due to financial pressures from pandemic, they had to choose between buying food or buying drugs and medical supplies to manage their diabetes, according to the study.

Researchers studied the impact of having uncontrolled diabetes – or a lack of medication – had on the severity of COVID-19, focusing on a population that was 89% Hispanic. They noted that the Latin community was 2.4 times more likely to die from COVID-19 and 50% more likely to have diabetes, compared to white individuals.

Forty percent of Americans who have died from COVID-19 have suffered from diabetes, and 1 in 10 people with diabetes hospitalized with COVID-19 will die within a week, researchers say.

The study used the medical records of 369 patients with COVID-19 admitted to El Paso University Medical Center. They were classified according to blood A1C levels (a measure of blood sugar control) in one of the following three groups: normal blood sugar levels, prediabetes and diabetes. The diabetes group shared its diabetes management with medication at the time of admission.

Bajpeyi’s team found that patients with unmanaged diabetes had a significantly higher severity of COVID-19 – based on a rapid assessment of organ failure related to sepsis and length of hospital stay – by compared to patients who managed diabetes with medication.

According to the study, patients with lower blood sugar levels had less severe complications and shorter hospital stays.

Research presented at the meetings is considered preliminary until it is published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The International Diabetes Federation has more on diabetes and COVID-19.

SOURCE: American Diabetes Association, press release, June 25, 2021

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