CBS 2: New Study Suggests People Previously Infected With COVID-19 Could Have Increased Risk for Diabetes
CBS 2 recently interviewed cardiovascular specialist Alan Kwan, MD, an investigator with the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai, about a recent study suggesting that a COVID-19 infection can increase the risk of developing new-onset diabetes by 2.1%.
The findings were published in the journal JAMA Network Open.
Kwan, first and corresponding author of the study, told CBS 2 reporter Laurie Perez that the study showed that COVID-19 affects the body in more ways than originally thought.
“At the beginning of all this, we thought this was just a respiratory infection—obviously very dangerous, very contagious, but only affected the lungs,” Kwan told Perez.
Investigators aren’t sure what causes the increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, but they are focusing on severe inflammation—which COVID-19 causes—as one possibility, Kwan said.
“We do know that essentially, inflammation can make it harder for your body to process sugar, so there’s a possible connection there,” Kwan told Perez.
The study found that vaccination against COVID-19 prior to infection seemed to reduce the risk of a new diabetes diagnosis. People who had been vaccinated had almost no increased risk, while those who had not been vaccinated had a higher chance of a new diabetes diagnosis—further underscoring the vaccine’s importance.
“It would be the best-case scenario if you don’t catch COVID,” Kwan told Perez.
The findings come on the heels of another Cedars-Sinai study examining the connection between COVID-19 and a spike in heart attack deaths, particularly among young people.
One in 10 people in the U.S. will develop diabetes—the most significant contributor to heart disease.
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