Diabetes and Covid-19: Italian researchers are focusing on the possibility that there is a direct correlation between the virus and high blood sugar
People with diabetes can develop more than others the COVID-19 and the “long Covid“? Researchers are wondering that, well before the pandemic from Coronavirusinsisted on the existence of a correlation between obesity And diabetes, to underline the increase of these two diseases globally. Italy was the first western country reached by SARS-CoV-2 and the researchers immediately highlighted the association between diabetes and the risk of developing it Covid-19 severe. In this regard, the first article was published two years ago which showed that people with diabetes had a doubled probability of dying from COVID-19. Despite the analysis of some databases, such as those of Veneto and Sicily, it is still unclear whether people with diabetes have a higher risk of contracting the infection from SARS-CoV-2. On the other hand, the massive negative effect exerted by diabetes on the probability that a positive person needs hospitalization is certain intensive care and succumb to the virus. Also unrecognized hyperglycemia, which is present in approximately 40% of patients upon admission for COVID-19is a powerful risk factor for the unfavorable course of the disease, underlining the importance of diabetes screening.
The scientific community has realized that it is facing the collision of two pandemics, that of a non-communicable disease such as diabetes and that of a new formidable infectious disease.
Diabetes and Covid-19: the lockdown did not negatively affect patients’ home care
Many contributions were made regarding the possible negative effects of home confinement on the glycemic compensation of patients with diabetes. Lockdown was observed not to adversely affect glycemic control in patients with type 1 diabetes. On the contrary, these patients showed significant improvements, perhaps thanks to the increased time available to devote themselves to disease management. Thanks to the widespread use of technologies for glycemic monitoring, especially in the type 1 diabetes, it was possible to monitor patients remotely. Indeed, the sudden acceleration in the adoption of telemedicine it has had positive implications in the field of diabetes research and assistance. The analysis of various Italian case studies has made it possible to demonstrate how, even during the lockdown phases in which patients could not physically access the outpatient services, it was possible to provide assistance remotely, guaranteeing at least half of the services, with particular attention to frail patients: women with gestational diabetes and patients with acute complications such as diabetic foot.
Diabetes and Covid-19: people with high blood sugar may be more at risk of contracting the virus and developing symptoms of long Covid
There was no lack of important contributions from Italian research on the immunological mechanisms of response to infection and on the possibility that the new Coronavirus attack the pancreatic beta cells, leading to the development of diabetes. Currently, Italian diabetes research looks precisely at the long-term consequences of the two years of the pandemic, turning attention not only to those who have recovered from COVID-19, but also to the “system” effects on the population. The hypothesis is being studied that the pandemic has accelerated the growth of diabetes in our country, not only due to the possibility that the Coronavirus destroy the cells that produce insulin but also for the adoption of unhealthy lifestyles. In parallel, the hypothesis that people with diabetes are more at risk of developing “long-Covid”, a condition characterized by persistent symptoms after recovery and which, in many cases, can be confused with chronic complications of diabetes. The national congress of diabetologists (Rimini, 26-29 October 2022) will be an opportunity to continue and deepen the debate on these issues.