What is the relationship between diabetes and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

Updated: Jan 12, 2021
  • Author: Setu K Patolia, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Longstanding diabetes mellitus and hyperglycemia impairs innate immunity, thereby rendering patients susceptible to increased severity of infections. Innate immunity is the first line of defense against any infection, especially viral infections such as COVID-19. [73] A study of 174 patients with COVID-19 from China showed diabetes to be an independent predictor of the severity of illness. The patients were at higher risk of severe pneumonia and had higher serum levels of proinflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein, IL-6, ferritin, and D-dimer. [74]

Concomitant use of ACE inhibitors, pioglitazone, and liraglutide in patients with diabetes mellitus leads to the up-regulation of ACE2 receptors in animal studies. This can lead to increased viral intrusion and increased severity of illness. [73]

Please see Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) for continuously updated clinical guidance concerning COVID-19.

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