Post Covid, diabetes seen in many 30-40 year olds in Karnataka | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Doctors in city hospitals have come across a trend of people in the 30-40 age group, all of whom have recovered from Covid-19, seeking treatment for diabetes.
While some experienced extreme fatigue, others suffered from eyerelated problems, only to know later that they’ve been living with undiagnosed diabetes.
“Compared to the pre-pandemic era, the number of youngsters seeking treatment for diabetes has shot up by 5-10% now. They have all recovered from Covid. We don’t know if Covid itself has been a contributing factor. The virus seems to have affected beta cells in the pancreas which produce insulin. In some cases, overuse of steroids during the treatment may also have led to diabetes,” said Dr Dwarakanath CS, endocrinologist.
He added that in many cases, the person would be having pre-existing diabetes, but was diagnosed only after testing positive for Covid. As per the state health and family welfare department, a majority of the Covid burden was seen among youngsters in the age group of 30-39. Over 6.8 lakh Covid patients in Karnataka were in this bracket.
Doctors at Apollo Hospitals have taken up a study to understand how many patients developed diabetes post Covid. “Diabetes status among Covid-recovered persons is being studied. In five cases that I have come across, diabetes was noticed post Covid. They came to us when they suffered from an eye infection or developed a blood clot in the retinal vein. These are post-Covid sequelae which we are seeing now,” said Dr Shalini Shetty, senior consultant ophthalmologist, Apollo Hospitals. While all the five cases of eye-related issues were seen in Covid-recovered persons below 40, one of them was a woman, said Dr Shetty.
A senior doctor from Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute said Covid impaired blood sugar levels among many patients and has led to insulin dependence in some. “The pandemic is still on and we don’t know if the onset of diabetes seen after Covid is reversible with medication,” the doctor said, refraining from commenting on the exact percentage of new diabetes cases. “It’s tough to quantify the rise in diabetes, unless a study is done locally,” the professor said.
Covid directly could cause diabetes or precipitate it in a person with risk factors, by causing insulitis or inflammation of the endocrine tissues in the pancreas that regulate glucose levels, and hence lead to elevated sugar levels, said the doctor.
Dr Pallavi D Rao, endocrinologist, Specialist Hospital, said one of the first questions she asks her patients is if they were infected with Covid earlier. “The question is pertinent as medicines have to be tailored differently for those with post-Covid recovery. We don’t know how the pandemic is going to pan out, but Covid has led to substantial risk of diabetes,” said Dr Rao.
Irrespective of the pandemic, diabetes is increasing every decade, said Dr Swathi Sachin Jadhav, endocrinologist from Sagar hospitals. She said in some cases, people who had no diabetes prior to Covid, have seen its onset. “We tested past three months’ sugar levels of Covid patients when they showed high sugar levels. In some patients, there was no history of high sugar levels prior to the infection and the onset of diabetes happened during Covid. However, there are several unanswered questions on the new onset of diabetes post Covid,” said Dr Jadhav.
According to Dr Manohar KN, secretary, Research Society for Study of Diabetes in India, Karnataka, though there is definitely a rise in diabetes cases because of Covid leading to insulitis, lockdown-induced weight gain could have also caused the condition. “It would be too early to quantify the increase in diabetes cases,” he said.

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Sagar Biswas

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