Potential link between COVID and diabetes revealed

A COVID infection can cause long-term symptoms and even trigger other infections including diabetes, according to the latest research.

Many struggle with COVID symptoms months after their initial infection, while for others the virus can trigger heart palpitations and even cognitive problems.

The full global health impact of the COVID pandemic has yet to be fully realised, and the findings of a recent Canadian study really ram that point home.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, found a positive correlation between those who had contracted COVID and increased new incidences of diabetes.

The research examined the health data of more than 629,000 adults with an average age of 32 and found a COVID infection was associated with a whopping 22 per cent increase in the likelihood of developing a new case of type 2 diabetes in the next eight months, particularly for men.

They also found COVID infections accounted for a 3 to 5 per cent increase in the total diabetes disease burden in Canada.

The correlation was also there for women, but not to the same extent. Only women who developed a severe case of COVID saw a corresponding rise in their diabetes risk. Mild COVID cases did not produce the same effect.

When the researchers divided the COVID cases according to their severity, they found that those who had been admitted to hospital were more than 2.4 times more likely to develop diabetes than those who had not been infected, and those admitted to intensive care were 3.29 times more likely.

While the link between COVID and diabetes is clearly there, what’s not so clear is the underlying mechanism at play.

The study’s authors theorise that there may be multiple interconnected processes responsible for the COVID to diabetes chain. For example, it has been previously demonstrated that COVID directly infects pancreatic beta cells, which in turn reduces their capacity to produce insulin, which increases the risk of diabetes.

Infectious disease expert Dr Morgan Birabaharan told Medical News Today that developing diabetes after COVID may even be considered a symptom of long COVID, rather than a separate incidence.

“The development of diabetes may fit under the umbrella of long COVID, which describes a wide array of symptoms and diseases that develop after the acute phase of SARS-CoV-2 infection,” he said.

“However, since we are still trying to understand the pathophysiology of long COVID, whether it be persistent viremia, dysregulated immune response, or some other phenomenon, it’s hard to group what complications of SARS-CoV-2 infection are ‘long COVID’ vs. some other process.”

Have you had COVID? Did you develop any diabetes-related symptoms afterwards? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: Flu numbers surge – have you become complacent?

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyerhttps://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/bradlockyer/
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.


  1. I haven’t had COVID, but I’ve had the available 5 COVID injections. I also suffer from diabetes 2, long before COVID began. I take my diabetes 2 medication without fail every day. Fingers crossed I don’t get COVID and the control of diabetes 2 continues.

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