New Study Suggests COVID-19 Disrupts Insulin Production In The Pancreas and Can Lead to Diabetes

While diabetes doesn’t make someone more or less likely to get sick with COVID-19, it is now well established that diabetes significantly increases the risk of serious complications or death from the virus. But a recent study suggests that COVID may also increase the likelihood of developing diabetes.

Published in August 2021 in the journal Cell Metabolism, the study found evidence that COVID-19 could be harming critical cells in the pancreas, leaving people more vulnerable to diabetes. Specifically, SARS-CoV-2 infects cells in the pancreas that produce insulin and may even target and destroy them—suggesting that the virus may also cause diabetes.

The researchers found that after infection with COVID-19, the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas started acting unusually. These cells produced far less insulin and instead started making glucagon – a chemical that has the opposite effect. The cells also started making a digestive enzyme called trypsin as well as chemokines, a type of substance that tells the immune system cells are sick and should be destroyed.

Since diabetes in people who have had COVID-19 is defined by extremely high blood sugar levels, the lack of sufficient insulin to counteract those levels can lead to severe complications.

This isn’t the first research to make a connection between COVID-19 and an increased risk of developing diabetes. In 2020, a study published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism raised concerns that being infected with COVID-19 can increase a person’s chances of developing both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Individuals With Diabetes Must Stay Vigilant Against COVID

Individuals with diabetes must remain highly vigilant against acquiring COVID-19, given its disproportionately severe impact on them.

Effectively managing your diabetes is one of the most important things you can do to lower your risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19.  Accurate and frequent monitoring of glucose levels is an indispensable part of those efforts. Fortunately, advancements in glucose monitoring technology have made controlling your glucose levels more effortless than ever.

Traditional glucose monitoring involves pricking a finger multiple times a day to test blood samples, an inconvenient and uncomfortable burden. Now, Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) allows those with diabetes to avoid finger-pricking through the use of a tested, approved, and easy-to-use transceiver device.

Contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.

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If you are not insured, or have a high deductible health insurance plan, you can still purchase the Freestyle Libre Reader and Sensors at extremely competitive prices. Prices starting as low as $99 per month

*Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings when you suspect readings may be in accurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

Reference 1: Data on file. Abbott Diabetes Care. 2, FreeStyle Libre 14 day User’s Manual

Indications and Important Safety Information

FreeStyle Libre and FreeStyle Libre 14 day Flash Glucose Monitoring systems are continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices indicated for replacing blood glucose testing and detecting trends and tracking patterns aiding in the detection of episodes of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, facilitating both acute and long-term therapy adjustments in persons (age 18 and older) with diabetes. The systems are intended for single patient use and require a prescription.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Remove the sensor before MRI, CT scan, X-ray, or diathermy treatment.

WARNINGS/LIMITATIONS: Do not ignore symptoms that may be due to low or high blood glucose, hypoglycemic unawareness, or dehydration. Check sensor glucose readings with a blood glucose meter when Check Blood Glucose symbol appears, when symptoms do not match system readings, or when readings are suspected to be inaccurate. The system does not have alarms unless the sensor is scanned, and the system contains small parts that may be dangerous if swallowed. The system is not approved for pregnant women, persons on dialysis, or critically-ill population. Sensor placement is not approved for sites other than the back of the arm and standard precautions for transmission of blood borne pathogens should be taken. The built-in blood glucose meter is not for use on dehydrated, hypotensive, in shock, hyperglycemic-hyperosmolar state, with or without ketosis, neonates, critically-ill patients, or for diagnosis or screening of diabetes. When using FreeStyle LibreLink app, access to a blood glucose monitoring system is required as the app does not provide one. Review all product information before use or contact Abbott Toll Free (855-632-8658) or visit www.freestylelibre.us for detailed indications for use and safety information.html. . FreeStyle, Libre, and related brand marks are trademarks of Abbott Diabetes Care Inc. in various jurisdictions. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2018 Abbott. ADC-09691 vLO 10/18