Research has shown that when one has an infection, the body responds by producing antibodies to fight the infection. However, an aggressive immunity response like is happening with COVID can result in increased production of all antibodies including pre-existing ones such as those that attack the islet cells of the pancreas. This then results in high blood sugars as the destruction of cells impairs insulin production.
Type 2 Diabetes & COVID-19
In Kenya for instance, there are many people living with diabetes but do not know it. In such a cases, COVID only enables it to be diagnosed. Doctors from around the world have also argued that a person could be prediabetic, or have a genetical risk with mild stressors such as being overweight and mildly sedentary, and the inflammation from the virus or the high steroids that are being used to help reduce inflammation in the lungs and minimize damage from the immunity response, could push them in to diabetes.
Now steroids increase blood sugar levels through various mechanisms; they block insulin action and increase insulin resistance, reduce glucose uptake in the muscles and adipose tissues, increase production for glucose by the liver by enhancing the effect of hormones that counter insulin, or even directly may reduce the action of the beta cells.
What someone with prediabetes needs to keep in mind is that they are more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within 5 years, or at least in their lifetime. Even so, you can delay the progression.
How Can You Prevent Diabetes After COVID-19?
Weight is major risk factor for diabetes, and you are more likely to succeed with it when you do not smoke, engage in physical activity and have better nutrition. Further, data from people with prediabetes shows that losing 6.8 kg to start, can help to slow the progression to type 2 diabetes.
Remember to take a diabetes test at your first post-discharge visit, at six months post-discharge and then annually.