When Craig Spanz continued to suffer from headaches after being infected with COVID-19 in March, he suspected that he might be experiencing some long COVID symptoms. A Vancouver resident expected his doctor to tell him how to deal with his constant headache, but instead he was diagnosed with diabetes.
“It was like when I found out I had diabetes a little over two weeks after COVID-19 officially ended,” Spanz said.
As new concerns emerge, there is growing conviction among medical professionals that the virus may be causing diabetes. Two studies backed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that COVID-19 causes severe damage to beta cells in the pancreas and limits the amount of insulin that can be produced. When you lack insulin, your blood sugar spikes and you become diabetic.
Dr. Remi Labasa, an endocrinologist at the University of Montreal, said:
There are at least two other ways in which the virus can cause damage to the inside of the human body that can lead to diabetes. When infected with COVID-19, the virus can replicate to the pancreas and other cells surrounding beta cells. The virus can also cause cells to malfunction and fail to regulate blood properly.
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49-year-old Spants admitted that he had some markers of prediabetes, but said the match against COVID-19 was horrifying. As a result, he suffered from dyspnea, severe chest pain, and loss of sensation in his limbs, and was hospitalized.
Spanz described a severe infection that Rabasa described as “potentially limiting the ability of insulin to act in tissues,” and “COVID-19 can cause diabetes.” It’s just one of the ways.
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A September 15 study published on cell.com found that elevated blood glucose levels were common among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Patients required longer hospital stays and were at increased risk of developing acute respiratory distress syndrome and increased mortality.
Researchers in this study concluded that hyperglycemia, a spike in blood sugar, is caused by COVID-19 interfering with the production of adiponectin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar in fat cells. ..
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Rabasa, who also works at the Center Hospitalier del’Université de Montréal, said he sees patients dealing with bad cases of COVID-19 exhibit hyperglycemia. He said there was “evidence that short-term COVID leads to diabetes.”
He added that hyperglycemia can only be seen for a short period of time. This means that some people do not develop diabetes immediately, but their effects on beta cell and tissue damage may be prolonged and they may be more susceptible to diabetes. Later it.
According to a Harvard Medical School study, nearly half of the 551 patients admitted with COVID-19 in Italy had hyperglycemia. Patients were followed for 6 months after the initial infection, and researchers found that hyperglycemia remained in about 35 percent of people.
Experts say the concern is not only that patients have diabetes from COVID, but that anyone who already has diabetes who has obtained COVID is at higher risk. According to a Scottish study, people who already have type 1 or type 2 diabetes are already at increased risk of worsening results if they are infected with COVID-19.
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“The overall risk of COVID-19 treated with a fatal or critical care unit was significantly increased in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes compared to the background population,” the study said. ..
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Infection can be one of the concerns that cause diabetes, but Labasa said COVID-19 also indirectly affects the likelihood that someone will have diabetes. He said that a “lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle” due to a pandemic that limits more people to staying at home could also contribute to it.
“If you’re not very active and don’t eat as well as you think, COVID causes you the stress of eating your emotions, they cause type 2 diabetes,” he said. rice field.
What does the data teach us?
It has been 100 years since the discovery of insulin, a medical advance that has allowed diabetics to constantly regulate their blood sugar levels. According to Dr. Seema Nagpal, Vice President of Science and Policy for Diabetes, “People who push the newly diagnosed diabetes forward, despite the understanding that medical breakthroughs, exercise and proper nutrition can help prevent diabetes. There is a tendency to increase. Canada.
“It’s a concern that we already have a very high percentage of diabetes, which could be another factor,” she said.
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A 2020 analysis by McMaster University found that nearly 15% of patients with severe COVID-19 developed diabetes.The authors of the study pointed out that they may have already been at risk of diabetes before they were infected with the virus...
Nagpal said no data have been collected in Canada on the current incidence of diabetes since the outbreak of the pandemic. As a result, she said, Diabetes Canada could not confirm whether the potential spike in diabetes rates was directly caused by COVID-19.
A New York-based study of patients admitted to the relevant campuses of the New York Elderly Hospital / Weil Cornell Medical Center and Queens and Lower Manhattan Hospital between March 1 and May 15, 2020. 49.7% of the 3,864 patients diagnosed in New York were found. In 2020, I had hyperglycemia.
Health problem: 100 years since the discovery of insulin
Almost half of the patients suffering from hyperglycemia are staggering, but the number has risen to “91.1% and 72.8% between intubated and dead”. People with hyperglycemia were hospitalized for 10 days, while those without hyperglycemia were hospitalized for 5 days.
The authors of the August 2021 study by Stanford University categorically concluded that “SARS-CoV-2 may directly induce beta cell death.”
Outside of vaccines and masks, which are ways to limit COVID-19 infections, and thus potential cases of diabetes, there are ways to reduce the risk. Diabetes Canada states that lifestyle changes can reduce the chances of developing diabetes.
“A healthy diet, increased physical activity, and weight loss if you’re overweight are the most effective ways you can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes,” they write on their website.
Spanz said he was able to incorporate better nutrition and exercise into his diet to control diabetes and is grateful for the early diagnosis of his recovery path. He said he monitors the amount of carbs, fats and sugar he eats and is generally better aware of his dietary choices.
As he made the changes, Spants said he had less frequent headaches and he felt much better physically.
“I feel like I’ve suddenly been depressed since mid-October,” he said.
— Using files from Jamie Maraucher and Leslie Whyte
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COVID-19, which causes diabetes in some severely infected patients, according to a study-nationwide
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