Health

Coronavirus May Cause Diabetes in Healthy People

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In the past three months, health experts have noted various coronavirus complications in patients. Although the virus itself is not as deadly in comparison with previous coronavirus epidemics, the associated health risks can be life-threatening.

According to health experts, the complications of the coronavirus infection go beyond causing difficulty in breathing. While lung issues are dangerous, many patients experience clotting and heart attacks. In fact, heart-related issues were the primary cause of death in many parts of the world affected by the virus.

In addition, the virus and its treatment make the patients vulnerable to a number of other health conditions. Research from the early days of the coronavirus pandemic indicates the patients of coronavirus are more susceptible to secondary infections.

Secondary infection, sometimes also called superinfections, occurs primarily in people who are hospitalized for a long period of time. For coronavirus patients, hospital stays can last for weeks. Therefore, they can easily catch a bacterial infection.

Read more: Bacterial Infections Are the Cause of Nearly 50% of Coronavirus Deaths 

Secondly, patients who require a ventilator are also more prone to have a lung infection. The germs are able to enter the lung via the part of the ventilator in the throat. All such infections are life-threatening, mainly because the bacteria or fungi are drug-resistant.

Drug-resistance means that none of the antibiotic medicines available today can kill the pathogen. So, common infections such as urinary tract infection can automatically be dangerous and cause death. According to research, secondary infections were the cause of death in nearly fifty-percent of coronavirus who had been hospitalized.

Now, a letter, which appears in the New England Journal of Medicine, highlights more coronavirus complications. In the letter, doctors from different parts of the world stated an observational finding of a potential link between coronavirus and onset of diabetes.

More precisely, the doctors explained that the association between diabetes and coronavirus may be bidirectional. Having underlying conditions including diabetes is linked to a more severe form of the coronavirus infection. Secondly, coronavirus is also likely to worsen diabetes.

For example, hyperosmolarity and ketoacidosis were two coronavirus complications seen in people with diabetes. In addition to these problems, doctors have now seen that the coronavirus may be leading to the onset of diabetes in patients as well.

The increase in coronavirus complications in diabetic patients often makes it hard for health care workers to manage and treat the infection. The association between coronavirus and onset of diabetes can possibly increase the difficulties and fatality rates even further.

However, health experts have stated that the evidence for the link till now remains to be only observational. Further investigation and solid proof are both requirements to conclude that the virus can indeed cause diabetes type 1 and 2.

For now, it should not be assumed that coronavirus infection can cause diabetes. the director of the Diabetes Center and the center of clinical research at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Dr. David Nathan, explains that research has also linked development of diabetes to other viral infections before.

Later on, studies found that diabetes had been developing in the bodies of patients long before they contracted the specific viruses, Nathan added. The presence of autoantibodies is the biggest evidence of the onset of diabetes in a person.

Often, the infections are only the final ‘trigger’ needed to further lower insulin production in the person, thereby leading to diabetic-related ketones. According to Nathan, this is enough evidence to show that viral infections or coronavirus complications can lead to the onset of diabetes but not cause it.

 

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Abeera I. Kazmi

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