Patients with Diabetes Up to 4-times More Likely to Develop Long COVID-19

ADA 2022

A new scoping review presented at the 82nd Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) showed persons with diabetes are at high risk for developing post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC), also known as long COVID-19.

“As time goes on, we are seeing the negative impacts that long COVID has on the daily lives of patients. Though more research is needed, we now know that patients with diabetes are at a disproportionate risk of long COVID and that these patients should be closely monitored,” said lead author Jessica Harding, PhD, assistant professor, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, in an ADA press release. “Careful monitoring of glucose levels in at-risk individuals may help to mitigate excess risk and reduce the burden of lingering symptoms that inhibit their overall wellbeing.”

Patients with diabetes are at risk for severe COVID-19, however, it is unknown whether diabetes is also a risk factor for PASC. To determine the impact of diabetes on the development of PASC, Harding and colleagues conducted a scoping literature review of all peer-reviewed full-text observational research studies published between January 1, 2020, and January 27, 2022, that reported the risk of PASC in persons with and without diabetes with a minimum of 4-weeks follow-up after COVID-19 diagnosis.

Of the 39 studied identified, 7 were included in the review. Overall, findings showed that 43% of studies identified diabetes as a potent risk for PASC (all odds ratios were >4). Investigators noted however, that this conclusion was “limited by the heterogeneity of studies” regarding PASC definitions (eg, ongoing symptoms of fatigue, cough, dyspnea), populations at risk (hospitalized vs non-hospitalized populations), and follow-up times (ranging from 4 weeks to 7 months).

In the study abstract, Harding et al stated that more high-quality studies across multiple populations and settings are needed to determine if diabetes is indeed a risk factor for PASC.

Reference: Harding JL, Ali MK, Gander JC, Patzer RE. Diabetes as a risk factor for long-COVID-19—a scoping review. Diabetes. Published online June 1, 2022. Doi: 10.2337/db22-174-LB.