High blood sugar lethal for Covid-19, even for non-diabetics: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on November 24, 2020 Published on November 24, 2020

A new study has found that Covid-19 infection gets exacerbated for people with high sugar level, including those without diabetes.

The study was published in the journal Annals of Medicine. It revealed that hyperglycaemia has become a significant risk factor for Covid-19 related deaths.

Through their study, the researchers intended to explore the correlation between blood sugar levels and in-hospital mortality in non-critically patients hospitalised with Covid-19.

For the study, the researchers analysed more than 11,000 non-critically ill hospital patients in Spain.

Their study adds to evidence that hyperglycaemia — the medical term for high blood glucose — is associated with a higher chance of death independent of a diabetes diagnosis.

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Stress on screening

The findings noted that patients with abnormally high glucose levels were more than twice as likely to die from the virus than those with normal readings (41.4 per cent compared to 15.7 per cent). The chance of getting on a ventilator or intensive care also increased for these people.

The researchers urged health experts to screen hyperglycemia and initiate early treatment for anyone hospitalised with Covid-19 who is non-diabetic, regardless of their health history.

Study coordinator Dr Javier Carrasco from Juan Ramon Jimenez University Hospital said: “Screening for hyperglycaemia in patients without diabetes and early treatment should be mandatory in the management of patients hospitalised with Covid-19.”

“Admission hyperglycaemia should not be overlooked, but rather detected and appropriately treated to improve the outcomes of Covid-19 patients with and without diabetes,” he added.

Hyperglycaemia is an issue that diabetic patients face. However, the condition can also be triggered by any illness or injury.

The authors further cautioned that most people do not regularly check their blood sugar levels. Therefore, some classed as non-diabetic could have had the disease without knowing.

The reason why hyperglycaemia is related to higher death rates still remains unclear. The researchers say the condition could be another ‘inflammatory bystander’.

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Published on November 24, 2020
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