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Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by high blood glucose and insulin resistance. Poor blood glucose control is associated with many diabetes-related complications and death. Findings from a new study indicate that blood glucose control influences outcomes in COVID-19.
The most common symptoms of infection from SARS-CoV2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and other respiratory system involvement. Recent evidence suggests that SARS-CoV2 can attack other organ systems, as well. People with preexisting health conditions such as diabetes are at higher risk of severe illness and even death with COVID-19.
The retrospective, multi-centered study reviewed 7,337 cases of COVID-19 patients in Hubei Province, China. Of these cases, 952 patients had type 2 diabetes.
The review indicated that patients with type 2 diabetes were more likely to have preexisting hypertension, coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and kidney dysfunction than patients without diabetes. They were also more likely to report having fatigue and difficulty breathing associated with COVID-19.
In addition, COVID-19 patients with type 2 diabetes required more intensive care than patients without diabetes. For example, they had a higher need for antibiotics and other drugs and often required respiratory interventions such as oxygen and various types of ventilation. The mortality rate among COVID-19 patients was considerably higher among people with type 2 diabetes. In particular, 7.8 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes died compared to 2.7 percent of patients without diabetes.
The authors of the study identified blood glucose control as a primary risk factor for severe illness and death among type 2 diabetes patients. Well-controlled blood glucose was associated with considerably lower mortality during hospitalization.
These findings shed light on the association between type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 severity and death and underscore the need for educating high-risk patients, especially those with type 2 diabetes, on the importance of maintaining blood glucose control.
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