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Diabetes Qualified

COVID-Related Mortality & Glycemic Recovery

COVID-Related Mortality & Glycemic Recovery

Written by Donna Itzstein, Pharmacist, CDE

This article is based on a systematic review and meta-analysis of COVID-19 related mortality and its relationship to diabetes, hypertension, body mass index and smoking. (1) The systematic review and meta-analysis of 186 observational studies (210 447 deaths among 1 304 587 patients with COVID-19). The observational studies were genuinely international.

The studies reveal that diabetes increases the risk of death with COVID-19 by 14%. Furthermore, the studies had a positive association that persisted across all sizes of data and geographic locations.

The absolute risk of death for patients with COVID-19 with hypertension compared with those without hypertension was increased by 11%.

Obesity increased the absolute risk of death by 12%. The table below shows a J-shaped non-linear relation between BMI and mortality risk. This observation suggests that the optimal BMI to reduce mortality risk with COVID-19 is around 22–24 kg/m2.

Figure 1: Association between BMI and mortality risk in people with COVID-19.

And finally, the absolute risk of death for smoking was increased by 7%. Many of our clients have two or more of these risk factors. These studies could assist your clients with the modifiable risks.

Graph Showing Increase in mortality risk with COVID-19

The good news is that it appears there is no evidence of long-term disruption of glycaemic management post-COVID-19 infection. An Italian study followed 660 adults with suspected COVID-19 pneumonia admitted into the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan.

Dysglycaemia in people with confirmed COVID-19 infection increased inflammation and organ injury and led to poorer outcomes. Fortunately, after the illness resolved, the prevalence of dysglycaemia reverted to preadmission frequency. (2) Although this study involves a small number of people, the results are positive.

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