COVID-Related Diabetes May Be Temporary

(Reuters) – Patients with severe COVID-19 who develop diabetes while hospitalized may have only a temporary form of the disease and their blood sugar levels may return to normal afterward, according to new findings.

Researchers studied 594 patients who showed signs of diabetes while hospitalized for COVID-19, including 78 with no previous diagnosis of diabetes. Compared to patients with pre-existing diabetes, many of the newly diagnosed patients had less severe blood sugar issues but more serious COVID-19.

Roughly a year after leaving the hospital, 40% of the newly diagnosed patients had gone back to blood sugar levels below the cutoff for diabetes, researchers reported in the Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications.

“This suggests to us that newly diagnosed diabetes may be a transitory condition related to the acute stress of COVID-19 infection,” study coauthor Dr. Sara Cromer of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston said in a statement.

“Our results suggest that … insulin deficiency, if it occurs at all, is generally not permanent,” Cromer said. “These patients may only need insulin or other medications for a short time, and it’s therefore critical that physicians closely follow them to see if and when their conditions improve.”

SOURCE: Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications, online February 4, 2022.

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