Diabetes after Corona infection: these are the symptoms to watch out for

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A growing number of studies show that Covid-19 can increase the risk of diabetes months after infection.

Everyone should be aware of and pay attention to diabetes symptoms and have their diabetes risk assessed by a doctor, the Diabetes Society (ÖDG) recommended in a news release last week. Understanding what this increased relative risk means and what everyone can do to be on the safe side is essential.

“Statements like ‘the risk of diabetes increases by 40 percent with Corona’ are scary if you’ve just had a positive test result,” explained ÖDG President Martin Clodi. According to the Department of Internal Medicine head at the Convent Hospital of the Brothers of Mercy in Linz, this sounds quite different in absolute terms. If there are 32 cases of diabetes within a year for 1,000 people without Covid, there will be 45 cases for 1,000 people with a Covid-19 infection. So that’s 13 additional new diagnoses that represent that 40 percent increase.

The risk of developing diabetes in the year following Covid infection increases with the severity of the Covid infection. However, more diabetes diagnoses were observed even in mild courses. Most strikingly, people who already had other diabetes risk factors, such as obesity, doubled their risk of the infection.

Detect in time, avoid late effects

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, it was important that people with diabetes, in particular, protect themselves from infection. Now it is important that formerly infected people protect themselves against diabetes by recognizing it in time to avoid late consequences,” reported senior physician Michael Resl, also from the Convent Hospital Barmherzige Brüder Linz and ÖDG secretary. Symptoms of diabetes can include frequent and increased urination, increased thirst, weight loss without wanting to lose weight, and fatigue and listlessness.

“Personal diabetes risk results from a range of factors related to heredity as to lifestyle,” Clodi emphasized. The screening examination provides the most explicit statement about individual risk. If individual risk factors are present, the long-term glucose value (HbA1c) can also be determined free of charge, making prediabetes (a preliminary stage of diabetes) visible.

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