A new study has found that people who suffer even mild cases of COVID-19 have a 40% chance of developing diabetes within a year of recovering, and that likelihood grows if the patient suffered a serious infection that led to hospitalization or time in the ICU.
Senior author Soumya Raychaudhuri, MD, Ph.D., said, "The risk of developing diabetes is not just related to how severe the disease is. It's also related to the amount of time someone has been exposed to the virus."
This latest finding adds to an already growing list of research indicating that people who have had COVID-19 are at risk for long-term health problems like heart disease and kidney disease.
A study published in late March in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal gives insight into the potential long-term effects of COVID-19, and it's not what we expected. Although COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory illness, researchers have found that 1-2% of people who've had COVID will develop diabetes.
The study analyzed data from over 180,000 patients from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and compared patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and survived it with over 4 million other people who didn't contract COVID in the same time period. Although this percentage may seem small, it translates to 800,000 to 1.6 million people who are now at risk of getting diabetes—a condition they may not have developed without having had COVID-19.
Researchers believe this study and continued research will hopefully create awareness among physicians and nurses to screen patients who've had COVID for diabetes and other long-term health complications so they can be treated appropriately.