Good blood sugar control in those with the COVID-19 infection appears to be highly protective in the latest study released yesterday. Here in Saipan, I have been especially concerned about my patients with diabetes. Previous studies such as this one from the Journal of the American Medical Association have shown that people with diabetes who develop COVID infection are around three times more likely to die than others. With the incredibly high rate of diabetes seen in the CNMI our population would be especially vulnerable.
The latest study presented in the journal Cell Metabolism looked at a cross section of 7337 positive cases of COVID-19 across 19 hospitals in Hubei province, China. 952 had diabetes. 282 where well controlled, 528 showed poorly control blood sugar. Like other studies, those with diabetes were about three times more likely to die (7.8 percent, compared to 2.7% of the non-diabetic control group). However, researchers where surprised to see vary favorable outcomes in those whose diabetes was controlled. Patients with well controlled diabetes died at a lower rate than the overall rate of death in the non-diabetes cohort. The comparison grew more startling when comparing those with the best and worst diabetes control. The patients with the worst diabetes control where 10 times more likely to die than diabetes patients with excellent control.
The studies authors had three takeaway points:
- People with diabetes are at increased risk to die if they develop COVID-19, also suffering more complications when compared to the non-diabetic population. Therefore, those with diabetes should do more to prevent infection,
- Patients with diabetes should take extra care to fully control their blood sugar during this pandemic.
- If infected it is extremely important to maintain good diabetes control in addition to other needed treatments.