COVID-19 is an ongoing hazard to the whole humankind. It mainly affects the respiratory system, which causes asthma, breathing issues, sometimes pneumonia, and even death. Even though the main issue is with respiration as side effects, it can cause various other problems like memory loss, tiredness, aches, and pains, etc. Now research has found that it can also cause diabetes in humans.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that happens when the pancreas can no longer have the ability to produce, or the body cannot make use of the insulin it produces. Slipping to the Diabetic stage occurs when the body lost the ability to maintain the blood glucose level. Insulin created from the pancreas enables the glucose from the food to breakdown from the bloodstream to the cells, which eventually produce energy. If insulin is not being able to be produced, it will lead to an increase in the glucose level in the blood, which is a condition called hyperglycemia. When it lasts for a long time, it will slowly start to affect other organs, which leads to their damage.
There are mainly three types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes.
- Type 1 diabetes: It is seen more frequently in children or adolescents. But it can develop at any age also, as it does not produce the required amount of insulin, or maybe no insulin, due to the beta cells damage in the pancreas, which is the source to secrete insulin is the reason. So to maintain the blood glucose level, insulin injections are taken.
- Type 2 diabetes: It is seen mostly in adults when the body does not make use of the excellent insulin produced by the pancreas. Primarily the body will lose the ability to react to the hormone. The treatment for type 2 diabetes is lots of physical activities, a healthy diet, drinking water, etc. But if it lasts long, patients are advised to take oral medicines or injections.
- Gestational diabetes: This happens when the glucose level in blood increases during pregnancy period. It can be complications for both mother and the child. It usually appears after pregnancy, but the mother and the child will become more vulnerable to type-2 diabetes during the later adult ages.
COVID-19 and Diabetes
A group of researchers thinks that people detected with severe COVID-19, which causes a respiratory tract infection, can have the chance to develop diabetes for the first time. Diabetes specialists believe that there is a two-way relationship between COVID-19 and diabetes.
Correlation-1 – COVID–19 and Diabetes
If a person is initially taking diabetes treatment, then he/ she will be more vulnerable to get COVID-19. In these types of people, who already have diabetes, when they get infected with COVID–19, the virus will complicate the metabolism, so it will affect the proper digestion of glucose, which makes the person take insulin injections or medicines in a higher dose than usual.
Correlation-2 – COVID–19 and Diabetes
Few cases in Singapore in which the patient who was not having diabetes was tested with high blood sugar after getting infected with COVID–19. There were other cases like about 39 patients who were having severe SARS were found to develop diabetes for the first time after the infection, according to various studies.
SARS and human cells connection
SARS–CoV–1 and SARS–CoV–2, which are related to each other, cause SARS. Both these viruses can enter the human cells through the same receptor called ACE2. And according to the diabetes specialists, metabolic tissues like beta cells in the pancreas, fatty tissues, kidneys, small intestine all have these ACE2 receptors.
When the virus gets attached to this ACE2 receptors, it will make changes in glucose metabolism that can lead to a state in which it could worsen the existing diabetes condition or can develop diabetes for the first time. It will destroy the beta cells, which prevent the body from making insulin, causing hyperglycemia. And in this case, the body needs more glucose to produce energy but can’t use it. So it will depend on ketones, the chemical secreted by the liver, which will lead to the production of acid that can cause diabetic ketoacidosis, which is fatal. There is an inevitable clash between both diabetes and COVID-19.
There is a bi-directional relation between diabetes and COVID-19. So scientists believe that the novel coronavirus can complications in pre-diabetic patients and can also cause new diabetes in people. Diabetes is an associate with an increased risk of COVID–19 fatality. It is found that about 20 % to 30 % of people died because of coronavirus had diabetes. But it is still unclear how the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 affects diabetes. It is said that the infection of COVID–19 can cause type 1 diabetes.
The exact way the virus interacts with glucose metabolism is still unclear. And it is not known if the coronavirus can cause a new type of diabetes other than the existing ones. The researchers are processing the routinely collected samples that help to find the insulin secretory capacity, insulin resistance, and autoimmune antibody functions to know about COVID–19 can be related to diabetes.
The exact details about the magnitude of new diabetes formed, how long it can last, whether the treatment can cure diabetes, or can COVID–19 can increase the chance of having diabetes in the future is still unknown. But COVID-19 will be seen more severe in people having medical conditions like blood pressure, cardiac problems, kidney problems, asthma, and diabetes.
It also says that people having type 2 diabetes are more likely to get infected with COVID-19 and can have severe illness compared to type 1 and gestational diabetes. Having diabetes increases the complications and chance of death because of COVID-19 infection rather than the risk of getting infected with COVID–19.