New-onset type 1 diabetes triggered by COVID-19 infection, study reports

By Editor
21st March 2022
Coronavirus, DKA Research Type 1 diabetes

Latest research shows that individuals who have contracted COVID-19 are at risk of developing new-onset type 1 diabetes, which can result in life-threatening DKA and hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state.

Academics from the Primary Care Diabetes Society (PCDS) have found that new-onset type 1 diabetes impacts roughly 14% of people who have been admitted to hospital with the coronavirus.

The study has revealed that concern has arisen around the overlooked new-onset type 1 diabetes in children and young people who have been infected with COVID-19.

According to the researchers, breathlessness due to acidosis in DKA may be mistaken as a symptom of the coronavirus, resulting in late presentation and increasing risks of morbidity.

The PCDS stated: “We continue to witness devastating consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, with so many people suffering illness, personal loss or socioeconomic effects, as well as the impact on NHS services. Although the vaccination programme offers hope, it remains important to highlight that people with diabetes are particularly affected.

“Significant knowledge and clinical expertise has been gained from the first wave, especially with regard to the consequences of COVID-19 and its treatment on people with or at risk of diabetes. This document provides an important update and recommendations for practice, with links to relevant resources.”

The PCDS have now advised GPs to:

  • Remain vigilant for symptoms of new-onset type 1 diabetes, especially in children and young people who are unwell.
  • Consider the four Ts – Toilet Thirsty, Tiredness and Thinner.
  • Check urine for glucose and ketones, and so a finger-prick glucose test. If the random point-of-care glucose is >11.0 mmol/L, refer immediately.
  • Capillary glucose and urinary ketone levels should be checked in people presenting acutely unwell with suspected COVID-19 or possible diabetes-related emergency.

To access the full research study, click here.

Photo by: chayakorn lotongkum

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