New information now points to Long COVID increasing the risk of diabetes, on top of earlier reported neurological issues. A researcher at the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC) explained the recent finding, which was reported in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal.
The study was based on data from 8.5 million people, 181,000 had previously contracted COVID-19. The researchers found that former COVID patients had an increased risk of developing diabetes within a year after recovering. The risk is not limited to people who have had severe Covid symptoms.
BIOTEC virologist Anan Jongkaewwattana explained that the risk was unrelated to factors normally contributing to diabetes, such as obesity or high blood pressure. He noted that people who were otherwise healthy before contracting COVID-19 faced the same risk.
According to the data, two out of 100 people infected with COVID-19 develop diabetes within one year. Dr Anan said this showed that Long Covid was not limited to the respiratory or neurological systems.
The virologist also noted that the figures from the study forecast an observable increase in the number of people with diabetes. This is expected to become a significant public health burden, as there could be 20,000 new diabetes patients for every 1 million people infected with COVID-19.
Dr Anan added that people should avoid contracting COVID-19 even though it can now be readily treated, because there was still very little information available about the possible hidden risks.