COVID and Diabetes

Michelangelo Diabetes



"The only constant in life is change."


These words by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus are no less true today than they were 2,500 years ago. The past couple of years have already brought about unprecedented change in personal, professional, academic, and social lives, putting our ability to cope with the constant change to test. Our endocrinology practice went through multiple phases of uncertainty and change from the beginning of the 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic to today, 2022.


We are currently seeing people in our office with face masks being mandatory for an appointment. If your insurance allows it, we are happy to make a telemedicine appointment with you as well.


As the global pandemic continues to rage on, medical professionals and scientists are hard at work looking at intersections between the virus and other health issues. One significant area of study has been diabetes, given how prevalent it is in America and the world. In this blog, we look at the current findings on the links between diabetes and COVID-19.

COVID-19 isn’t just deadlier for people with diabetes, it may be triggering metabolic issues in people who didn’t have them pre-COVID. Scientists aren’t sure how the virus is creating this effect, though some expect the pancreas may be damaged by the virus. Some children even seem to be developing some type of diabetes after getting the virus, even if the infection was relatively mild. As of now, these findings are still in their early stages and need much more supporting evidence before they are taken up by larger health organizations. The CDC website and the American Diabetes Association both echo the sentiment that the full extent of COVID-19’s effects on diabetes are not fully realized.

In addition to potentially causing diabetes in some people, some preliminary evidence suggests that COVID-19 is likelier to cause issues among those who already have diabetes. Most research has been conducted with a focus on Type-2 diabetes, but more studies are being conducted with Type-1 diabetes as the focus.

According to a recent study, type-2 diabetes disproportionately affects COVID-19 mortality risk in middle aged adults. Information supporting this assertion came from independent researchers in Britain using data points from various large studies. They gathered information from these sources to uncover this worrying pattern in COVID-19 patients with diabetes. This relationship needs some further study before it can be officially announced by the CDC and other major organizations.

There isn’t enough evidence to suggest that people with diabetes are more likely to contract COVID-19, but there is evidence to suggest that diabetes may make any complications worse. This is in line with the general view that pre-existing conditions can make COVID-19 more debilitating and even fatal in some cases.

Having well-managed diabetes can improve your chances, though, as opposed to having a more serious case of diabetes. Viral infections have been known to increase inflammation in people with diabetes.

What About Type-1 Diabetes and Ketoacidosis?

Diabetes type-1 may elicit more aggressive symptoms from COVID-19 than type-2 diabetes. The CDC is monitoring the information and statistics closely as they come in. Hopefully, as we learn more about the virus, we will learn more of its’ complications.

The American Diabetes Association also states that viral infections may increase the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA for short. This condition is characterized by an extremely high level of ketones in the body, which happens when the body cannot produce enough insulin. While there is a low likelihood of this happening, it is something to keep in mind.

Let Our Team Help You!

No matter what stage of diabetes you are in, it’s very important that you have good information on managing your condition and a qualified team behind you. At Palmetto Endocrinology, we pride ourselves on helping countless patients manage and lessen the effects of diabetes in South Carolina. We realize how serious COVID-19 and its’ consequences can be to our patients. Again, we provide telemedicine appointments if insurance allows to our patients to keep everyone safe. Please call to make an appointment. We are here to help.

For more information, give us a call or stop by our office to speak with a member of the team!

Joseph W. Mathews, MD, FACP, FACE, ECNU, CCD Joseph Mathews, MD, FACP, FACE, ECNU, CCD Joseph W. Mathews M.D., a board certified Endocrinologist and Medical Director of Palmetto Endocrinology, was born and raised in South Carolina. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology from the College of Charleston, Cum Laude. He then achieved his M.D. at the Medical University of South Carolina where he also completed his residency in Internal Medicine and a Fellowship in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism. Dr. Mathews is also a Fellow of both the American College of Endocrinology and the American College of Physicians, holds an Endocrine Certification in Neck Ultrasound (ECNU) and is a Certified Clinical Densitometrist (CCD). He has extensive experience performing ultrasound guided fine needle aspiration biopsies. His practice includes a range of specializations including prescribing and fitting patients with insulin pumps. Dr. Mathews' practice has drawn patients from out of state to benefit from his expertise in thyroid disorders, diabetes, cortisol problems and their Endocrine disorders.

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