Controlling blood sugar levels could improve COVID-19 health outcomes

Maintaining good blood sugar control could improve COVID-19 health outcomes of people with diabetes who become infected with the disease, researchers have said.

A new Chinese study, carried out in Wuhan where the pandemic was believed to have started, has found evidence to suggest that blood glucose might give protection to those with type 2 diabetes.

Senior author Hongliang Li, from the Renmin Hospital, Wuhan University, said: “We were surprised to see such favourable outcomes in well-controlled blood glucose group among patients with COVID-19 and pre-existing type 2 diabetes.

“Considering that people with diabetes had much higher risk for death and various complications, and there are no specific drugs for COVID-19, our findings indicate that controlling blood glucose well may act as an effective auxiliary approach to improve the prognosis of patients with COVID-19 and pre-existing diabetes.”

The trial involved collecting health data from 7,337 confirmed COVID-19 cases who were admitted to the 19 hospitals in the Hubei Province. A total of 952 people had type 2 diabetes the other 6,385 did not.

Among the people who had diabetes, 282 had well-controlled blood glucose and the other 528 did not.

The findings suggested that those who were admitted to hospital with type 2 diabetes and coronavirus needed more medical assistance and intervention. They were also more likely to die or experience several organ injuries.

But, those who had maintained good blood sugar levels and became infected with COVID-19 were less likely to pass away and more likely to improve their COVID-19 health outcomes when compared to those who had poor blood glucose levels.

In addition, the people who had well controlled blood sugar levels were less likely to need medical intervention and ventilation.

Previous research has already shown that people with diabetes are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19, so this latest study has highlighted the importance of maintaining good blood sugar control throughout the pandemic.

More work is being carried out to investigate the relationship between type2 diabetes and coronavirus.

The findings of this study have been published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

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