A few days ago, Dr. Kudva, an endocrinologist at the Mayo clinic who focuses on diabetes, raised the concern that new cases of diabetes are increasingly being observed after severe COVID-19 infections.
What does that mean for you? Is there anything you can do about that? This post will answer those questions.
As has been reported and researched for nearly a year now, having either diabetes or pre-diabetes means that you are more likely to have a negative outcome if you get COVID-19. You are likely to be sicker and be at higher risk of dying.
One of the reasons for this is that in both pre-diabetes and diabetes. higher than optimal blood sugar levels have a chronic, and long term effect on the ability of your immune system to fight all infections. Your immune system has two parts – the innate and the adaptive immune systems. The innate immune system kicks in first when you are threatened with bacterial or viral infections. With COVID-19, one of its unique characteristics is the way it starts by dampening the innate immune response. High blood sugars are ALSO doing the same thing by putting your white blood cells into a very inactive state, which directly impacts your ability to kick the infection. So this works like an add-on impact that greatly decreases your ability to overcome a COVID-19 infection in the critical first week with symptoms.
But now we are seeing a different link emerging with COVID infections – we seem to be seeing a significant number of patients that are being diagnosed with diabetes, both Type 1 and Type 2, after having had a severe COVID infection. So what is going on here?
There are continuing investigations to try and tease out more details about the cause of this development. This is very concerning as we already have an epidemic of diabetes here in the United States, and various other developing countries, and so having a new mechanism that is pushing people into diabetes has a serious, long-term impact on public health.
Here is what we know or have observed already –
- People hospitalized for COVID are often given steroids, which tend to raise blood sugars and make pre-diabetes and diabetes worse.
- When people are already fighting one infection and their entire immune system is on the stretch and inflammation levels are up, that also increases risk for diabetes development or progression.
- We have also specifically seen that the COVID-19 virus attaches to something called the ACE2 receptor, which is located in various body tissues. A big question is whether this can happen with the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. If they are damaged that directly impacts your body’s ability to make insulin.
- We also see that when many diabetics get COVID they seem to exhibit much higher insulin resistance than expected. This means it takes much larger doses of insulin to control their blood sugars and many diabetics admitted for COVID infections are also in keto acidosis from out-of-control blood sugars. This may be due to the virus directly impacting insulin receptors at the cell level or possibly another mechanism.
- It also seems the virus can accelerate, and make worse, the condition where people that have a tendency to autoimmune disorders, see destruction of their insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas as the body destroys some of its own cells. We already know that many cases of Type 1 diabetes are caused through this mechanism.
Dr. Kudva also brought out the fact that it’s important to –
- immediately begin improving underlying health conditions that may cause diabetes,
- improve levels of physical fitness for better immune function,
- and follow COVID-19 safety precautions.
So what can you do to increase your odds of staying well? Here are the most important things-
- Address any and all underlying conditions that may increase your risk for diabetes. Common conditions are metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, high cholesterol and/or triglycerides, and obesity or overweight.
- If you already have a diagnosis of pre-diabetes or diabetes, focus on normalizing blood sugars and reversing the disease using lifestyle interventions.
- Do everything you can to avoid getting COVID – some of the most powerful things you can do to boost your immune system to fight infections more effectively are both free and simple.
You can get started on these important steps by signing up right here for my next Master Class on Preventing and Reversing Diabetes – Sign UP
As a bonus, you will also receive a mini assessment tool that can help you determine what your personal risk is and help you know if you are one of the 90% of Americans with pre-diabetes who don’t know it yet but are extra-susceptible to more severe COVID-19 infections.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain – just make sure you get on the list so you are notified of your next opportunity to join this very important class.
Just click on the button below to sign up today.