Uncontrolled diabetics more prone to COVID-19 complications, says study

‘Mortality rate is almost double’

May 30, 2021 11:32 pm | Updated May 31, 2021 11:46 am IST - CHENNAI

Representational image.

Representational image.

A new study has reinforced the fact that uncontrolled diabetics are more prone to complications if they contract COVID-19.

The study collated data from patients admitted at five private hospitals in the city between May and November 2020 for treatment of symptomatic COVID-19. An analysis showed diabetics ran a higher risk of pneumonia, respiratory distress syndrome, heart attack and kidney failure.

Researchers at A. Ramachandran’s Diabetes Hospitals compared 422 non-diabetic patients with 423 diabetic patients and found that the rate of mortality was almost double among those with uncontrolled diabetes. “We did an outcome analysis. Double the number of people with diabetes died, compared with those without diabetes. It does not mean those with diabetes are more prone to contracting the infection,” said Dr. A. Ramachandran.

“In a sub-analysis, we found that if diabetes was under good control, the risk was the same as for a non-diabetic. So the level of control of diabetes at admission decided the outcome,” he said. Likewise, the risk was higher among patients with chronic kidney disease or hypertension, the study showed.

Arun Raghavan, lead author of the article, Profile and prognosis of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 virus infection with and without diabetes – An observational study from South India , published in Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews , said: “We wanted to establish how vulnerable Indian diabetic patients were. They have higher cardiovascular disease complications and more progressive course of diabetes than the Caucasian population. We wanted to understand how severe the COVID disease is in the Indian population. The percentage of death in the non-diabetic group was 5.9, whereas it was 10.2 in the diabetic group.”

The data included those from patients who were hospitalised. “Since hospitalisation is for symptomatic patients, we took this up. The mean hospital stay is seven days — all of these patients had a symptomatic disease and patients with diabetes seemed to have twice the chances of mortality,” he said.

An interesting find was the influence of chronic kidney disease. The study found that patients with this disease had nearly three times higher mortality rate than those without it, indicating that diabetics and patients with chronic kidney disease were immune-compromised. “It reinforces the fact that patients with diabetes and chronic kidney disease should not take things lightly,” Dr. Arun Raghavan said.

Not only should they get vaccinated but they should also follow the COVID-19- appropriate behaviour even after vaccination. “We are also seeing people contracting the infection even after vaccination. Diabetic and chronic kidney disease population are extremely vulnerable in terms of mortality,” he said.

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