Up to one in 20 new diabetes cases could be related to Covid infection, data suggests.
The research adds to mounting evidence the pandemic may be contributing to a rapidly escalating diabetes crisis, with individuals who have experienced more severe Covid at greatest risk.
However, lifestyle factors such as being overweight or obese continue to be the main driver for the increase, with 4.3 million officially diagnosed cases in the UK alone.
Although previous research has hinted that Sars-CoV-2 infection may increase the risk of developing diabetes – possibly by damaging insulin-producing cells in the pancreas – these studies were either relatively small or limited to specific groups of individuals, such as US military veterans, who may not represent the general population.
To delve deeper, Prof Naveed Janjua at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and his colleagues turned to the British Columbia Covid-19 Cohort, a surveillance platform that links data on Covid infections and vaccinations with sociodemographic and administrative health data.
They examined records from 629,935 people who took a PCR test for Covid and found those who tested positive were significantly more likely to experience a new diagnosis of type 1 or type 2 diabetes in the following weeks and months – with 3-5% of new diabetes cases attributable to Covid overall.
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Source: The Guardian, 18 April 2023