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Wear The Gown: The link between COVID and diabetes

Those who catch COVID have a higher chance at developing diabetes

SAN ANTONIO — We've heard that those with diabetes have a higher chance of serious complications if they also catch COVID.

"Multiple studies have shown that there is an increase in the incidence of new onset diabetes in patients in the hospital that have COVID 19. So apparently it seems to be about 14 percent," said Dr. Carolina Solis-Herrera who is an endocrinologist with the Texas Diabetes Institute within University Health. She says one of the theories of why this happens is an increase in ACE2 receptors. Dr. Solis-Herrera said, "Which are found in multiple organs, including the lungs, intestines, the pancreas and the heart."  

That increase ACE2 receptors allow the virus to attach itself to those organs with greater ease. Damage to beta cells within the pancreas also gives patience a greater risk of contracting diabetes. Dr. Solis-Herrera added, "We believe that this may be a direct association with that insulin deficiency and the development of diabetes in this patients."  

Those most at risk to develop diabetes after contracting COVID include people who are overweight or obese, those who are sedentary, people who are 45 years of age or older, those with a family history of diabetes, and people with prediabetes. Dr. Solis-Herrera said, "Which is very abnormal glucose but not in diabetes range, are more prone of developing diabetes if they acquire a COVID 19 infection."  

Dr. Solis-Herrera also says many people put off their diabetes medical care during the first year of the pandemic, and some still are. But because diabetes and COVID are so closely linked together, you need to make sure you stay on top of your diabetes and see your doctor regularly.

For more information on family health call 210-358-3045. You can also find the rest of our Wear The Gown stories just go to WearTheGown.com.