Mass Spectrometry & Spectroscopy

  • Type 2 Diabetes & Coronavirus - Why Blood Sugar is Key

Type 2 Diabetes & Coronavirus - Why Blood Sugar is Key

May 23 2020 Read 3300 Times

As scientists learn more about the novel coronavirus, a team of researchers from Wuhan University is warning that people with type 2 diabetes (T2D) could be more at risk of developing severe symptoms. That said, they maintain that if blood sugar levels are kept under control the risk is significantly decreased.

Working from the Renmin Hospital at Wuhan University, the team launched a study of more than 7300 confirmed COVID-19 patients from 19 hospitals across Hubei Province. The findings were reported in the journal Cell Metabolism and build on previous research suggesting that T2D patients are more likely to develop severe COVID-19 symptoms.

The importance of well-balanced blood glucose levels

Of the 73000 patients surveyed, just over 950 were also diagnosed with T2D. Of these, 282 had well-balanced blood glucose levels. While the study indicates that patients with both COVID-19 and T2D develop more severe symptoms and suffer from higher mortality rates, it also suggests those with well-balanced blood glucose levels are more likely to survive and require less medical intervention, including receiving oxygen or being placed on a ventilator.

“We were surprised to see such favourable outcomes in well-controlled blood glucose group among patients with COVID-19 and pre-existing type 2 diabetes," explains Hongliang Li, senior author of the study. “Considering that people with diabetes had much higher risk for death and various complications, and there are no specific drugs for COVID-19, our findings indicate that controlling blood glucose well may act as an effective auxiliary approach to improve the prognosis of patients with COVID-19 and pre-existing diabetes.”

Experts urge T2D to practice social distancing

With more than 500 million people around the world currently diagnosed with T2D, the findings could have a far reaching impact on global health and COVID-19 survival rates. Not only does the study highlight the importance of controlling blood glucose levels, it also underscores the need for T2D patients, as well as other immunocompromised individuals, to take extra precautions and practice strict social distancing while the risk of contracting COVID-19 is still a possibility.

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