The results of a recent analysis of data from more than 1,100 medical practices in Europe describe a possible link between mild SARS-CoV-2 infection and an increased risk of a subsequent diabetes diagnosis.
A propensity score-matched analysis with data from more than 35,865 people with a documented COVID-19 infection, the results of the study indicate that these patients had an increased frequency of subsequent type 2 diabetes diagnoses compared to their counterparts with other forms of acute upper respiratory tract infection.
“COVID-19 infection can lead to diabetes by upregulating the immune system after remission, which may induce pancreatic beta cell dysfunction and insulin resistance, or patients may have been at risk of developing diabetes due to obesity or prediabetes and stress COVID-19 inflicted on their bodies accelerated it “, says lead investigator Professor Wolfgang Rathmann, from the German Diabetes Center at Heinrich Heine University, in a statement.
Referring to previous studies showing that SARS-CoV-2 could damage insulin-producing beta cells and the increase in sedentary lifestyle during the pandemic, Rathmann and a couple of colleagues from Heinrich Heine University tried to determine if COVID-19 infection was associated with a increased risk of subsequent diabetes. Investigators designed their study as a retrospective cohort analysis of Disease Analyzer, a health database made up of a representative panel doctor’s practice in Germany.
Using ICD-10 codes, investigators created a pair of cohorts of people with newly diagnosed COVID-19 or acute upper respiratory tract infection with an initial diagnosis between March 1, 2020-31. January 2021. After their search, investigators identified a cohort of 35,865 people with COVID-19 infection for inclusion in their analyzes, which was prosperity score-matched to 35,865 controls with acute upper respiratory tract infection. Matching propensity scores were based on gender, age, health insurance, index month, and sequelae, including obesity, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, myocardial infarction, and stroke.
The mean age of these cohorts was 42.6 years, and 45.6% were women. The COVID-19 group had a median follow-up of 119 (IQR, 0-210) days, and the cohort with acute upper respiratory tract infection had a median follow-up of 161 (IQR, 4-225) days.
The results of the investigators’ analyzes revealed that patients with COVID-19 had an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes compared to their counterparts with acute upper respiratory tract infections, with incidence rates of 15.8 and 12.3 per year, respectively. 1000 people. In models that assess incidence ratios, those with COIVD-19 are 28% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than their counterparts (IRR, 1.28). [95% CI, 1.05-1.57]). In further analyzes, investigators observed no increase in IRR for other forms of diabetes.
Investigators pointed out that limitations in their study could have affected the results, including the relatively short follow-up period.
“Since COVID-19 patients were only followed for about three months, further follow-up is needed to understand whether type 2 diabetes after mild COVID-19 is just temporary and can be reversed after they have fully recovered, or whether it leads to a chronic condition, ”Rathmann added.
This study, “Incidence of newly diagnosed diabetes after Covid-19“was published in Diabetology.