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Ten percent of COVID-19 patients with diabetes die within one week of being hospitalized, according to the first study of the virus to examine its impact on hospitalized patients.
According to the research, published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, one in five patients end up being intubated and needing a mechanical ventilator at that point, as well.
The study analyzed 1,317 patients admitted to 53 public and private French hospitals between March 10 and 31.
The findings also showed that 65 percent of COVID-19 patients with diabetes admitted to the hospital are men, and the average age of all patients admitted who have diabetes is 70.
The presence of diabetic complications and age increase the risk of death, and increased BMI, or one’s body mass index, is associated with both increased risk of needing mechanical ventilation and increased risk of death, the study found.
“The risk factors for a severe form of COVID-19 are identical to those found in the general population: age and BMI,” the researchers said in a statement.
“Elderly populations with long-term diabetes with advanced diabetic complications and/or treated obstructive sleep apnoea were particularly at risk of early death, and might require specific management to avoid infection with the novel coronavirus,” according to the researchers.
“BMI also appears as an independent prognostic factor for COVID-19 severity in the population living with diabetes requiring hospital admission. The link between obesity and COVID-19 requires further study,” they added.
Insulin and other treatments for modifying blood sugar are not a risk factor for severe forms of COVID-19 and should be continued in patients with diabetes, the study found.