COVID-19 has taken our country by storm, and it is affecting individuals of all ages. No one is immune, and unfortunately, individuals with underlying health conditions tend to be at higher risk for complications. People with type 1 diabetes are already more severely affected by infections than individuals without the disease, and therefore they may be at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 and having poorer health outcomes.
A recent study looked at a group of 64 people with type 1 diabetes, 33 of whom had confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 31 of whom had COVID-19-like symptoms but no confirmed diagnosis. The median HbA1c levels were 8.5% and 8% respectively, and the average age was 24.8 years in the confirmed COVID-19 group and 16.8 years in the COVID-19-like symptom group.
Participants were part of a T1D Exchange Quality Improvement Collaborative (T1DX-QI) study and completed a 33-item questionnaire about their health and symptoms. They all had one or more symptoms that aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) symptom profile for COVID-19.
The results showed that for both groups, high blood glucose, fever, and dry cough were the top three symptoms. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) was reported in 45.5% of participants who tested positive for COVID-19 and 13.3% of those with COVID-19-like symptoms. This was a small study using data collected up to May 5, 2020. Additional research is needed to better track results as more is learned about the disease and its impact on individuals with type 1 diabetes. Also, since the average age of participants was teenagers and young adults and type 1 diabetes tends to develop in childhood, conducting pediatrics studies could also be beneficial to learn more.
As researchers continue to study COVID-19 and individuals with type 1 diabetes, they can better understand risk factors, complications, and therapeutic treatment options to deal with this novel coronavirus. The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is an organization dedicated to funding research around type 1 diabetes and will continue to stay abreast of the latest findings in regard to T1D and COVID-19. To learn more about the work conducted through the DRC and support these efforts, visit http://diabetesresearchconnection.org.