COVID-19 and type 2 diabetes: an eye-opening link that may help to stem the pandemic.

COVID-19 has everyone confused. Its pandemic origins are hazy. The way it strikes the immune system has everyone ducking for cover, distancing from crowds and avoiding any kind of social gatherings.

But, researchers think they have finally found a clue into the way that this virus works.


All viruses have an optimal environment for breeding. Like any other living creature, they seek comfortable settings to their liking in order to reproduce.

After seeing multiple positive cases of coronavirus disease 2019 in Italy earlier this year, doctors started mapping the predisposition of its occurrence.


There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2.

It turns out that the coronavirus is most likely to replicate in diabetics. Almost 50% of patients diagnosed with COVID 19 are diabetic, according to a recent article published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.

And if the patient is not diabetic, once infected, their body goes into a life-threatening state known as diabetic ketoacidosis.

What is diabetic ketoacidosis?

This is when the body starts breaking down fat at a very fast rate. The liver turns the fat into a fuel known as ketones.

These ketones cause the blood to become too acidic. This usually happens when there is not enough insulin being produced in the body. If a person remains in this state for too long, they can eventually fall into a coma and die.

Higher doses of insulin in diabetics with COVID-19

Italian doctors also observed that their diabetic patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms also needed higher doses of insulin. Compared to other illnesses that can affect diabetics, it seems that this virus causes their bodies to need more insulin than all the others.

What does this mean?

One of the main observations that researchers first noted was that the majority of COVID-19 sufferers have other underlying health issues. These issues are mainly diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. For some reason, perhaps due to an immune system that is under major attack, these health problems worsen in Coronavirus patients.

However, these problems are also often seen in obese people and in the elderly.

What else do we know?

It is a well-known fact that diabetics often suffer from obesity. Obesity can cause respiratory issues. So, diabetics who are obese can have severe breathing complications, even with the help of a ventilator. In fact, these devices have been known to fail in these cases.

But how is the coronavirus able to do this?

Apparently, the virus has the ability to confuse the immune system by blocking signals in the body that can cause inflammation. So, by doing this, it can cause severe damage since there is no signal to stop it.

Researchers have noticed that people with underlying health problems get worse when they are diagnosed with COVID-19. The fact that their immune system is under major attack is most likely the cause.

What can be done?

The general recommendations are for diabetic patients to closely monitor their glucose levels. COVID-19 sufferers who do not have diabetes but are obese are advised to have glucose tests. This is because the virus can trigger their body into a diabetic state.

More doctors will be monitoring their Coronavirus patients for diabetes, now that a link has been established. They will also be advising their patients with high blood pressure and heart disease to keep a close watch on their symptoms.

Healthy eating and healthy living along with stable glucose levels are at the top of the list of recommendations.

Many questions, no answers

There is still a lot of research to be done in order to stop the advance of the virus. Doctors are on the fence about how children are affected. They seem to be vectors of the disease but they show no symptoms.

Although there are many questions floating about with no answers, every day we seem to get closer to finding the cure for the illness caused by this virus.

Now that there is an established link between diabetes and COVID-19, perhaps this will lead to a closer understanding of how to control the pandemic.

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