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Diabetes Increases Risk for Poorer Prognosis in COVID-19

Increased inflammatory response in COVID-19 patients with diabetes thought to worsen pneumonia

MONDAY, April 20, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Diabetes may contribute to more severe symptoms, rapid progression, and poorer prognosis in patients infected with COVID-19, according to a study published online March 31 in Diabetes Metabolism Research and Reviews.

Weina Guo, from Tongji Medical College at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, and colleagues performed a retrospective study of 174 COVID-19-positive patients who were admitted to Wuhan Hospital from Feb. 10, 2020, through Feb. 29, 2020, to determine whether diabetes has an influence on the progression and prognosis of COVID-19. Within the group of 174 patients, 37 had diabetes, and of these patients, 54.1 percent were male. The median age was 61 years.

The researchers noted a significant elevation of inflammation biomarkers in blood serum samples from COVID-19 patients with diabetes, indicating that these patients were more likely to experience a rapid progression of COVID-19 disease than patients without diabetes. These biomarker elevations included an absolute count of neutrophils in patients with diabetes compared with those without diabetes. Another significant finding was the detection of more prominent radiologic abnormalities in the chest computed tomography images of COVID-19 patients with diabetes, which showed an increased severity of pathological changes to the lungs.

“Dysregulation of glucose metabolism will aggravate diabetes and then affect the severity of pneumonia, which works as an amplification loop,” the authors write. “Meanwhile, the diabetic complications signify the severity of diabetes, and these patients with diabetic complications showed a higher mortality rate, which further proves that diabetes is a risk factor for the prognosis of COVID-19, and the severity of diabetes is positively correlated with the poor prognosis.”

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