PEOPLE with diabetes are almost twice as likely to die from Covid and almost three times as likely to be critically or severely ill compared to those without diabetes according to a new study.
However, the study, conducted by researchers from the University of Aberdeen who reviewed data from hundreds of thousands of people, also found that good management of the condition can mitigate against the risks.
Specifically, the collaboration with King’s College, London, found that while diabetes presents a significant risk of severe illness and death with Covid, good control of blood sugar in these patients can significantly reduce the risk.
The researchers reviewed findings from 158 studies that included more than 270,000 participants from all over the world to determine how Covid affects people living with diabetes.
The pooled survey results showed that people with diabetes were 1.87 times more likely to die with Covid.
It also showed that they were 1.59 times more likely to be submitted to the ICU, 1.44 times more likely to require ventilation and 2.88 times more likely to be classed as severe or critical.
This is the first time a study looked at the risks of Covid in patients with diabetes while factoring in the patient’s location.
Therefore, it highlighted potential healthcare resources available as well as possible ethnic differences and other societal factors.
Data was gathered from all over the world including China, Korea, Europe and the Middle East, the study has been published in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism.
The study found that patients in China, Korea and the Middle East were at higher risk of death than those from EU countries or the USA.
The researchers suggest this may be due to differences in healthcare systems and affordability of healthcare which may explain the finding that maintaining optimal glycaemic control significantly reduces adverse outcomes in patients with diabetes and Covid.
Stavroula Kastora who worked on the study alongside Professor Mirela Delibegovic and Professor Phyo Myint explains: “We found that following a Covid-19 infection, the risk of death for patients with diabetes was significantly increased in comparison to patients without diabetes.
“Equally, collective data from studies around the globe suggested that patients with diabetes had a significantly higher risk of requiring an intensive care admission and supplementary oxygen or being admitted in a critical condition in comparison to patients without diabetes.
“However, we found that the studies that reported patient data from the EU or USA displayed less extreme differences between the patient groups.
“Ultimately, we have identified a disparity in Covid outcomes between the eastern and western world.
“We also show that good glycaemic control may be a protective factor in view of Covid-19 related deaths.”
Another study into diabetes today suggests moving away from a one size fits all approach has the potential to transform care for people with type 2 diabetes.
Experts at the University of Dundee’s school of medicine have established a means of determining how people with type 2 diabetes differ from each other and how clinical variation between them affects their long-term risks and response to treatment.
This study was conducted with colleagues from the University of Exeter and Madras Diabetes research foundation, it was published today in Nature Medicine.
It analysed data from more than 23,000 people with type 2 diabetes, utilising it to develop a new way to visualise how much people with the condition differ from each other.
“Clinically, we need to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to the management of people with type 2 diabetes and be more precise in the care of patients,” said Ewan Pearson, Professor of Diabetic Medicine at Dundee.
“Our study demonstrates how we can look at an individual with type 2 diabetes and illustrate in an intuitive way the main reasons they have diabetes and use this to manage them better to reduce their individual risks.”