Coronavirus (Covid-19) and diabetes: New link to the pandemic in newly diagnosed diabetics.

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

“Mihail Zilbermint is used to treating diabetes — he heads a special team that cares for patients with the metabolic disorder at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md.,” Erin Blakemore wrote over at The Washington Post “But as the hospital admitted increasing numbers of patients with covid-19, his caseload ballooned. ‘Before, we used to manage maybe 18 patients per day,’ he said. Now his team cares for as many as 30 daily. Many of those patients had no prior history of diabetes. Some who developed elevated blood sugar while they had covid-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, returned to normal by the time they left the hospital. Others went home with a diagnosis of full-blown diabetes. ‘We’ve definitely seen an uptick in patients who are newly diagnosed,’ Zilbermint said. Although covid-19 often attacks the lungs, it is increasingly associated with a range of problems including blood clots, neurological disorders, and kidney and heart damage. Researchers say new-onset diabetes may soon be added to those complications — both Type 1, in which people cannot make the insulin needed to regulate their blood sugar, and Type 2, in which they make too little insulin or become resistant to their insulin, causing their blood sugar levels to rise. But scientists do not know whether covid-19 might hasten already developing problems or actually cause them — or both. As early as January 2020, doctors in Wuhan, China, noticed elevated blood sugar in patients with covid-19. Physicians in Italy, another early hot spot, wondered whether diabetes diagnoses might follow, given the long-observed association between viral infections and the onset of diabetes. That association was seen in past outbreaks of other coronavirus illnesses such as SARS.” Erin Blakemore, “New diabetes cases linked to covid-19,” The Washington Post.