Could Type 1 Diabetes be an Effect of COVID-19?
As the coronavirus pandemic continues on, researchers are learning more about the wide range of effects that it has on individuals. The disease presents differently in different people, ranging from those who are asymptomatic to those who end up with severe symptoms and are put on a ventilator. Some people develop a loss of taste and smell or having a lingering cough and trouble breathing, even after recovery. There is so much that is yet unknown about SARS-CoV-2, also known as COVID-19.
Another concerning discovery that researchers are investigating is whether the virus may play a role in some patients developing type 1 diabetes. A recent study found that some people who did not previously have a diabetes diagnosis are experiencing type 1 diabetes. Though more research is needed, researchers are questioning whether the virus triggers an autoimmune response that damages or destroys insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells.
There have been numerous patients who have presented with hyperglycemia, but this could also be due to the stress put on their body by the disease, as well as steroids used to promote recovery. In some patients, blood sugar issues resolved on their own, not resulting in type 1 diabetes, whereas others had a lasting effect. It is important to follow up after recovery to see if blood sugar management problems still exist and if there is the possibility that type 1 diabetes has developed.
These are still preliminary studies, so researchers cannot say for certain whether COVID-19 may cause type 1 diabetes in some people, but it is a possibility that they are continuing to investigate. Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is interested to see how this study evolves moving forward and what it could mean for the type 1 diabetes community. The DRC is committed to providing critical funding to support type 1 diabetes research, though was not involved with this study. Learn more about current projects and how to help by visiting https://diabetesresearchconnection.org.