It is shown that those suffering from diabetes have a greater risk of becoming seriously ill with Covid, the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 infection can favor the development of diabetes is also increasingly clear. Among the long-Covid disorders, glycemic control and insulin resistance problems are also very common. Diabetes itself could be an effect of long-Covid
This possibility, supported by several studies, was presented by Francesco Giorgino, President of the Italian Society of Endocrinology (SIE) on the occasion of the 41st National Congress held in Rome from 14 to 17 July.
“We should continue to monitor the possibility of a correlation between the new coronavirus infection and the risk of developing changes in blood sugar even once healed ”, says Giorgino, Professor of Endocrinology at the University of Bari Aldo Moro and President of SIE.
“Several studies have shown that the coronavirus can infect cells in the pancreas, both the exocrine portion that produces digestive enzymes, and the endocrine portion of the organ that produces insulin, explains Professor Giorgino. Covid patients who had normal blood glucose prior to infection often have increased blood glucose values during illness. Furthermore, some works have highlighted that Covid patients experienced blood glucose control disturbances even after overcoming the new Coronavirus infection. The cytokine storm triggered by the new coronavirus infection can favor metabolic imbalances and alterations in glycemic control “.
In particular, a study conducted by Laura Montefusco and Paolo Fiorina of the Division of Endocrinology, ASST Fatebenefratelli-Sacco, of Milan, published in the journal Nature Metabolism, shows that even months after recovery from Covid, many patients have glycemic disorders.
The study followed 551 previously normoglycemic patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in Italy: during the infection, 46% of patients had elevated blood glucose that occurred during hospitalization, while 27% were normoglycemic (normal blood glucose).
Scientists have shown alterations in metabolic control in patients, with insulin resistance and an abnormal profile of cytokines that promote inflammation, even after the infection has been overcome. Glycemic abnormalities can also be observed for at least two months in patients recovered from COVID-19. The data, therefore, demonstrate that COVID-19 is associated with aberrant metabolic control, which may persist after recovery from the infection.
Diabetes itself could be an effect of long-Covid
And again, a study also in the magazine Nature Metabolism, led by Matthias Laudes of the Schleswig-Holstein University of Kiel, in Germany presents the case of a young patient with asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, who fell ill with autoimmune or insulin-dependent diabetes (diabetes 1) precisely in concomitance with infection.
“These and numerous other clinical evidences – says Professor Giorgino – suggest the need for further investigations on metabolic abnormalities in the context of the so-called “long COVID”; it would be important to try to follow the subjects recovered from Covid over time, for example those who have experienced changes in glycemic control during the infection, to see if the alterations in glycemia persist in the long term and if these subjects develop diabetes.
In this regard – concludes the expert – it could also be useful to use telemedicine tools for remote monitoring: not only people with diabetes but also those recovered from Covid with persistent glycemic problems they could be monitored remotely in the long term and possibly followed up with television ”.