Wolfgang Rathmann

Incidence of Newly Diagnosed Diabetes After Covid-19

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Wolfgang Rathmann

Dr. Rathmann

Prof. Wolfgang Rathmann MSPH
Prof. of Epidemiology
Deputy Director, Institute for Biometrics and Epidemiology,
German Diabetes Center, Heinrich Heine University
Düsseldorf, Germany

MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study? 

Response: Diabetes is associated with a poor prognosis of COVID-19. There have been raised concerns about a bidirectional relationship between diabetes and COVID-19. Recent studies raised the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 can cause diabetes. However, there is a lack of studies investigating the incidence of diabetes after recovery from COVID-19 in mild cases.

To provide more evidence, we analyzed electronic health records from 1,171 general and internal medicine practices across Germany between March 2020 and January 2021. This included 35,865 patients who were diagnosed with COVID-19. The incidence of diabetes after COVID-19 was compared with patients, who were diagnosed with an acute upper respiratory tract infection (AURI), matched for sex, age, and comorbidities including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack, and stroke. 

MedicalResearch.com:  What are the main findings?

Response: We found that new cases of type 2 diabetes were more common in patients who tested positive for COVID-19 than those with an AURI (15.8 vs 12.3 per 1000 people per year). giving an incidence rate ratio of 1.28. In simple terms, this means that the relative risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the COVID group was 28% higher than in the AURI group. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: Although type 2 diabetes is not likely to be a problem for the vast majority of people who have mild COVID-19, we recommend that anyone who has recovered from COVID-19 be aware of the warning signs and symptoms of diabetes such as fatigue, frequent urination, and increased thirst, and seek treatment right away. If confirmed, the present study indicates that diabetes screening in people who recovered even from mild Covid-19 should be recommended.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: COVID-19 infection may lead to diabetes by upregulation of the immune system after remission, which may induce pancreatic beta cell dysfunction and insulin resistance, or patients may have been at risk for developing diabetes due to having obesity or prediabetes, and the stress related to COVID-19. The resulting hyperglycaemia in individuals with COVID-19 is most likely a continuum. Future studies should investigate the effects of SARS-CoV-2 infections and related risk factors on continuous glucose and HbA1c measurements. Since the COVID-19 patients in our study were only followed for about four months, long-term follow-up is needed to understand whether type 2 diabetes after mild COVID-19 is just temporary and can be reversed or whether it leads to a chronic condition.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Disclosures:  Funding for this study came from the German Federal Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State North Rhine-Westphalia.

Citation:

Rathmann, W., Kuss, O. & Kostev, K. Incidence of newly diagnosed diabetes after Covid-19. Diabetologia (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00125-022-05670-0

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Mar 17, 2022 @ 2:17 pm

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