Will Corona raise the percentage of diabetes cases around the world?

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An Italian study expected a significant increase in the number of diabetics, and said that this “may be due to the pancreas being affected by the emerging corona virus.”

The study, published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Metabolism, found that about half of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 during the onset of the epidemic had high blood sugar levels.

The study’s lead author, Paolo Fiorina, of the University of Milan in Italy, a researcher in the Department of Nephrology at Boston Children’s Hospital in America, says in a report published on the hospital’s website: “These people did not have diabetes before they contracted Covid-19. About 46% of them had new hyperglycemia. While some were treated, about 35% remained hyperglycemic for at least 6 months after infection.”

This study evaluated the health of 551 people who were hospitalized in Italy from March to May 2020, and the follow-up period included 6 months after hospitalization.

Compared with patients who did not show abnormal glucose levels, hyperglycemic patients face worse clinical concerns, such as longer hospitalization, worse clinical symptoms, greater need for oxygen, greater need for ventilation, and more intensive care treatment. “We wanted to understand the mechanism that led to the poor performance of these patients, as opposed to those who did not have hyperglycemia,” Fiorina adds.

Fiorina had previously published research that showed that Covid-19 led to problems with glucose metabolism, and to find out more, all patients were provided with a glucose sensor upon admission to the hospital. Over the course of time, with the help of his research team, he discovered many abnormalities in glucose metabolism control in COVID-19 patients who develop hyperglycemia.

They also found that hyperglycemic patients had abnormal hormonal levels and severe hyperinsulinemia, as they produced too much insulin, had abnormal levels of insulin, and had signs of impaired function of the insulin-secreting beta cells.

“Essentially, the hormonal profile indicates abnormal pancreatic function in these patients with COVID-19, and this persists long after recovery,” Fiorina says. Hyperglycemic patients also have severe abnormalities in the amount of inflammatory cytokines, including IL-6 and others.

While the abnormalities of glucose metabolism decreased over time in some patients, others remained, and many patients had higher levels of postprandial glucose and abnormal pancreatic hormones in the post-Covid-19 period.

Fiorina says: “This study is one of the first to show that COVID-19 has a direct effect on the pancreas. The long-term”.

The study underscores the importance of assessing pancreatic function in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 while in hospital, and in the long term. “This goes beyond the fasting glucose test because we observed disturbances of glucose metabolism during the day that were not always present on the normal fasting test,” Fiorina adds.

Regarding treatment, questions remain about how to care for patients with glucose abnormalities associated with Covid-19, should patients be treated only with anti-diabetic drugs, such as an insulin sensitizer, or should anti-inflammatory drugs, such as “tocilizumab” and other drugs be used. ?

“If you keep targeting and blocking insulin, but you have strong, chronic inflammation, it can lead to chronic damage,” Fiorina says. Fiorina suggests larger studies to test anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory therapy. “When you think about the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19, we could see a massive increase in the number of diabetics,” he says.

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