Individuals with Diabetes are Up to Four Times More Likely to Develop Long COVID-19
Diabetes Study Adds to Growing Body of Data Around Risk Factors for Long-Standing Effects of COVID-19 Infection
A new study reveals that diabetes is a potential risk factor for post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC), also known as long COVID-19, a range of post-COVID-19 symptoms such as brain fog, skin conditions, depression, and shortness of breath. The findings were presented as a late-breaking poster session at the 82nd Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association® (ADA) in New Orleans, LA.
Research shows that up to 10 to 30 percent of individuals that had COVID-19 may experience long COVID-19. Post-COVID-19 conditions are more prevalent in those with severe cases of COVID-19. This is particularly concerning for patients with diabetes, a patient population at increased risk of severe COVID-19 infection. Now, researchers are working to understand whether diabetes is also a risk factor for long COVID-19.
In order to determine the impact of diabetes on the development of long COVID-19 following an initial COVID-19 infection, the study included all peer-reviewed full-text observational research studies published in English between January 1, 2020 and January 27, 2022 that reported on the risk of PASC in people with and without diabetes with a minimum of four-weeks follow-up after COVID-19 diagnosis, and narratively synthesized results.
Findings show that 43% of studies identified diabetes as a potent risk factor for PASC. However, this conclusion is limited by the heterogeneity of studies with regard to PASC definitions (e.g., ongoing symptoms of fatigue, cough, dyspnea etc.), populations at risk (hospitalized vs. non-hospitalized populations), and follow-up times (ranging from four weeks to seven months).
“As time goes on, we are seeing the negative impacts that long COVID has on the daily lives of patients. Though more research is needed, we now know that patients with diabetes are at a disproportionate risk of long COVID and that these patients should be closely monitored,” said Jessica L Harding, PhD, assistant professor at Emory University’s School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA and lead author on the study. “Careful monitoring of glucose levels in at-risk individuals may help to mitigate excess risk and reduce the burden of lingering symptoms that inhibit their overall wellbeing.”
The authors note that more high-quality studies across multiple populations and settings are needed to determine if diabetes is indeed a risk factor for PASC.
Research presentation details:
- Diabetes as a Risk Factor for Long-COVID-19—A Scoping Review
- Presented on Sunday, June 5 at 12:00 p.m. CT
For more information, please contact the ADA Scientific Sessions media team onsite at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center from June 3–7 by phone at 504-670-4902, or by email at SciSessionsPress@diabetes.org.
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About the ADA’s Scientific Sessions
The ADA’s 82nd Scientific Sessions, the world’s largest scientific meeting focused on diabetes research, prevention, and care, will be a hybrid event held June 3–7, 2022 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA. Leading physicians, scientists, and health care professionals from around the world will unveil cutting-edge research, treatment recommendations, and advances toward a cure for diabetes. We are eager to get back to safely participating in person and networking with colleagues while hearing the latest scientific advances and groundbreaking research presentations. Learn more and register at scientificsessions.diabetes.org and join the Scientific Sessions conversation on social media using #ADA2022.
About the American Diabetes Association
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization fighting to bend the curve on the diabetes epidemic and help people living with diabetes thrive. For 81 years, the ADA has driven discovery and research to treat, manage, and prevent diabetes while working relentlessly for a cure. Through advocacy, program development, and education we aim to improve the quality of life for the over 133 million Americans living with diabetes or prediabetes. Diabetes has brought us together. What we do next will make us Connected for Life. To learn more or to get involved, visit us at diabetes.org or call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383). Join the fight with us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Spanish Facebook (Asociación Americana de la Diabetes), LinkedIn (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn), and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn).