The Globe and Mail: COVID-19 Linked to Diabetes, Study Shows
The Globe and Mail and CBC Radio One program Saskatoon Morning with Leisha Grebinski recently interviewed cardiovascular specialist Alan Kwan, MD, an investigator in the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai, about a study he co-authored that found a link between COVID-19 and diabetes.
The findings, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, revealed a heightened risk for diabetes after having COVID-19. Investigators also found that those who were vaccinated against COVID-19 had a lower chance of developing diabetes than those who were unvaccinated.
“The potential effects of a COVID infection are likely different than other viral infections that we’re used to—seasonal colds, even flus,” Kwan told The Globe and Mail. “And so, in the space of uncertainty, really protecting yourself against infection is important.”
It remains unknown why COVID-19 leads to an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The culprit could be inflammation, which makes it difficult for the body to process sugar and respond to insulin, Kwan told The Globe and Mail. He explained that inflammation may be caused by a COVID-19 illness or dexamethasone, a steroid medication used to treat COVID-19 patients in hospitals.
Kwan told Saskatoon Morning guest host Theresa Kliem that COVID-19 affects more than just the lungs, and he hopes the research raises awareness of the need for diabetes screenings. Kwan advised that “if you’re experiencing ongoing issues after a COVID infection, be aware of this possibility and really try and take care of your overall health, not just the COVID infections.”