COVID outcomes and mortality rates are worse among people who have abnormally high blood sugar levels, researchers have said.
The Spanish team say these findings are the same irrespective of whether someone has diabetes or not.
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The study involved more than 11,000 people who were deemed non-critical and had been admitted to hospital.
One in five people passed away while there, and the mortality rates were highest among those with the greatest blood glucose levels. Death rates did not differ between those with or without diabetes.
The researches say the research paper adds to growing evidence that high blood glucose levels, otherwise known as hyperglycaemia, are linked with a higher risk of death among those who become infected with coronavirus.
Those who had abnormally high glucose levels were more than twice as likely to die from COVID-19, when compared to those whose levels were in a more normal range. Higher blood glucose levels also increase the chance of requiring a ventilator and being admitted to the intensive care unit.
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The research team is now urging medical teams to screen for hyperglycemia among anyone who is hospitalised with COVID-19, whether they have diabetes or not.
Study coordinator Dr Javier Carrasco from Juan Ramon Jimenez University Hospital, said: “Screening for hyperglycaemia in patients without diabetes and early treatment should be mandatory in the management of patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
“Admission hyperglycaemia should not be overlooked, but rather detected and appropriately treated to improve the outcomes of COVID-19 patients with and without diabetes.”
The study has been published in the journal Annals of Medicine.