18 Apr COVID Linked to Higher Risk of New Onset Diabetes
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Naveed Zafar Janjua, MBBS, MSc, DrPH
Executive Director, Data and Analytic Services
BC Centre for Disease Control
Provincial Health Services Authority
Clinical Professor, School of Population and Public Health
University of British Columbia
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Ongoing research suggests that COVID-19 may be associated with long-term health problems such as diabetes after acute phase of illness. However, the previous studies either had small or specific participant groups that may not represent the general population. We conducted this study using population-level data from the British Columbia COVID-19 Cohort to better understand the relationship between COVID-19 infection and the risk of developing diabetes.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Overall, the study included 629, 935 people including 125987 people who had COVID-19. 608 people were diagnosed with new onset diabetes among those with SARS-CoV-2 infection resulting in a rate of 672.2/100,000 person years compared to 1864 people among those without SARS-CoV-2 infection resulting in a rate of 508.7 /100,000 person years.
The study found that COVID-19 is associated with higher risk of diabetes following COVID-19 infection. In addition, the study found that COVID-19 may have contributed to 3% to 5% of new diabetes cases.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: The study findings suggest that COVID-19 is associated with higher risk of diabetes following COVID-19 infection.
This risk was even higher among people who had severe COVID-19 disease during the acute phase of COVID-19 infection, such as among those who required hospitalization or admission to the intensive care unit. Overall, the study found that COVID-19 may have contributed to 3% to 5% of new diabetes cases.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a results of this study?
- We need to monitor people with COVID-19 infection to assess when the risk of diabetes starts to change after the acute phase of the infection.
- It is not known at this stage if the new onset diabetes among people who had SAR-CoV-2 infection is permanent. Longitudinal studies are needed to investigate this issue.
- What is the impact of diet and physical activity on modifying the risk of diabetes following COVID-19?
- The role of COVID-19 vaccination and COVID-19 treatment in reducing the risk of long-term outcomes.
- The underlying mechanism for new-onset diabetes related to COVID-19 is not well understood. There is a need for understanding mechanisms to develop prevention and management plans.
- Further, it’s not clear either if potential association between SARS-CoV-2 diabetes mellitus differ by viral variants.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: The study highlights the importance of medical professionals being mindful of the possible long-term consequences of COVID-19. It is important to monitor individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 for diabetes, especially those who had more severe disease during acute phase of infection, as early detection and treatment can be critical in managing diabetes and preventing complications.
In this study, we assessed population level burden of diabetes associated with COVID-19 infection and we found that COVID-19 may have contributed to 3% to 5% of new diabetes cases. Given the large number of people infected with COVID-19, these excess diabetes cases could translate into very large population level burden of diabetes which could strain already stretched healthcare system.
Disclosures: I have provided consultation and has spoken at AbbVie and Gilead sponsored events, not related to COVID-19.
Naveed Z, Velásquez García HA, Wong S, et al. Association of COVID-19 Infection With Incident Diabetes. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6(4):e238866. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.8866
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