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Transient Diabetes: A Surprising Twist for COVID-19 Patients with Newly Diagnosed Blood Sugar Disorder

Transient Diabetes: A Surprising Twist for COVID-19 Patients with Newly Diagnosed Blood Sugar Disorder

Many COVID-19 patients newly diagnosed with diabetes during hospital admission may in fact have a temporary form of the disease related to the acute stress of the viral infection and may return to normal blood sugar levels soon after discharge, a study by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has found. These patients are more likely to be younger, non-white, and on Medicaid or uninsured compared to individuals with previously diagnosed diabetes, suggesting many of these “new-onset” cases may simply be pre-existing but undiagnosed diabetes in individuals with limited access to healthcare services, according to the study published in Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications.

High rates of newly diagnosed diabetes mellitus (NDDM) have been reported in COVID-19 hospital admissions around the world. It is still unclear, however, if this phenomenon represents truly new diabetes or previously undiagnosed cases, what the cause of these elevated blood sugars may be, and whether patients’ blood sugars improve after resolution of COVID-19 infection. Pre-existing diabetes in people with COVID-19 has been associated with higher rates of hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, mechanical ventilation, and death.

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