Doctors have documented a significant increase in diabetes cases during the pandemic, which they attribute to the virus itself, the use of steroids in therapy, and the epidemic’s sedentary lifestyle. Many individuals with coronavirus illness (Covid-19) present to hospitals with severe diabetic crises similar to those seen in children or people with type 1 diabetes, according to the experts.
“Many Covid-19 patients initially show type 1 diabetes-like symptoms – extremely high sugar levels, ketoacidosis (a complication where blood turns acidic because of excess ketones produced), and need insulin injections. But, these are not true cases of type 1 diabetes as we have seen that they convert to normal type 2 diabetes, dependent on oral medicines three or four weeks after the infection,” said Dr Anoop Misra, chairman, Fortis-CDOC Centre for Diabetes, Metabolic Diseases and Endocrinology.
He said that Covid-19 had infected seven out of ten new diabetes patients he saw last month. According to him, this happens in about 5% of hospitalised Covid-19 patients. Type 1 diabetes is caused by the body’s failure to produce the glucose-digesting hormone insulin, which is frequently detected in childhood (thus the name). Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, occurs when the cells in the body grow resistant to the insulin that is produced.
Dr Misra added, “Diabetes could be triggered by the stress to the body during the Covid-19 infection. Now, there is also a discussion of Covid-19 directly affecting the beta cells in the pancreas as they have the ACE II receptors used by the Sars-CoV-2 virus.”