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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.

Click here to read the complete article and watch the segment from CBS 2.