Since COVID-19 has spread across the globe, researchers have been scrambling to understand the highly infectious and deadly virus. Early on, we learned that those suffering from diabetes are one of the groups of people who are at a higher risk for severe illness, along with people over the age of 65, those with chronic liver, kidney, or lung disease, and the immunocompromised. A new French study has determined just how scary and deadly contracting COVID-19 can be for those battling chronic diabetes.
The study, published in the journal Diabetologia, found one in every 10 coronavirus patients with diabetes lost their lives within a week of being hospitalized, and one-fifth—20 percent—needed a ventilator to breathe. In total, nearly a third—29%—of participants had died or were on a ventilator, while just 18% had been discharged from the hospital.
Sleep Apnea, Obesity Also Increase Risk
Researchers also pointed out that anyone who suffered from diabetes complications were even more at risk, over twice as likely to die within a week. People with sleep apnea and shortness of breath were three times as likely to die, and those who were obese also had a highly likelihood. Age was also a major factor, with patients 75 years and older found to be 14 times more likely to die than patients under 55, and patients 65 to 74 years old were three times more likely to die than those under 55.
Researchers in the study analyzed data from 1,300 coronavirus patients in 53 hospitals in France between March 10 and March 31. The majority of them—89%—suffered from Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the illness, where individuals fail to respond to insulin as well as they should.
Just 3% suffered from Type 1 (the type of diabetes where the body does not produce insulin), and the remaining, from other forms of the disease. The average age of participants was 70, nearly 65 percent of them were men.
The Takeaways for the Future
Study authors hope their findings will help medical experts focus efforts on keeping diabetics from contracting COVID-19 in the first place—especially those with any of the higher risk complications.
“Special attention should be paid to elderly people with long-standing diabetes and advanced diabetic complications, who are at risk of fatal COVID-19 and therefore require the strict application of specific management to avoid contamination with SARS-CoV-2,” wrote the study authors, adding that the link between obesity and the virus should also be investigated further.
As for you: To get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.