Those With Diabetes at Higher Risk of Death From COVID-19

April 29, 2021
Killian Meara

Killian Meara, assistant editor for ContagionLive, joined the MJH Life Sciences team in November 2020. He graduated from William Paterson University with a degree in liberal studies, and concentrations in history and psychology. He enjoys film, reading, and pretending he is a good cook. Follow him on Twitter @krmeara or email him at [email protected]

Pre-existing conditions were found to increase the risk of COVID-19 related death in those with diabetes.

A recent systematic review and meta-analysis conducted by investigators from the German Diabetes Center and the Leibniz Center for Diabetes Research at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, has found that patients with an advanced course of diabetes are at a higher risk of death when infected with COVID-19.

Results from the review and meta-analysis were published in the journal Diabetologia.

"Male sex, older age and some pre-existing conditions, as well as the use of insulin, most of which are potential indicators for a more progressive course of diabetes, were associated with increased risk of COVID-19 related death and severity in individuals with diabetes and SARS-CoV-2 infection, whereas metformin use was associated with a lower risk of death,” the authors wrote.

For the review, the investigators conducted an analysis that included 22 studies and 17,687 individuals. The review is the first edition of observational studies that are investigating phenotypes in people with diabetes and COVID-19 related death and severity.

The investigators found that men who had diabetes were 28% more likely to die due to a COVID-19 infection when compared to women. People who are over the age of 65 are 3 times more likely to die than those under that age, and each 5 year increase of age increases the relative risk for COVID-19 related death by 43%.

Those of the patients who used insulin to control their diabetes were 75% more likely to die than those who did not use it. This is most likely due to the fact that insulin use is usually indicative of a more advanced course of diabetes.

However, fit was found that those who were treating their diabetes with metformin were 50% less likely to die with COVID-19 than those who did not use it.

"To strengthen the evidence, more primary studies investigating diabetes-specific risk factors, such type and duration of diabetes or additional pre-existing conditions, and accounting for important variables, are needed,” the authors wrote. “We will continuously update this report to strengthen the evidence of already examined associations and to investigate further outcomes, such as long-term complications due to COVID-19 for individuals with diabetes."