We're already months into the coronavirus pandemic, and most of the world has accepted the new normal, while some countries like Vietnam and New Zealand are safe for now. COVID-19 vaccines are also in various stages of trials, with some pledging doses by the end of the year.

Nevertheless, we're still learning a lot about the virus and the infection it causes.

Now, experts are sending out a warning regarding diabetes and the possibility that the novel coronavirus disease could trigger it.

Diabetes and COVID-19 Link

In a report by Newsweek, experts who are studying diabetes believe that COVID-19 could trigger the metabolic condition.

A warning was issued in the New England Journal of Medicine with a letter from a group of international researchers who mainly focus on diabetes. 

The team said in the letter that they had found evidence that new cases of diabetes have been linked to the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, otherwise known as the novel coronavirus that's causing havoc today.

In addition to new cases, experts also say that those with existing diabetes have also been seen to have "severe metabolic complications."

Before the warning was sent out, doctors already listed type 1 and type 2 diabetes as risk factors of moderate to severe COVID-19 cases, wherein the patient would have to be admitted to the hospital or worse, put in intensive care.

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How Does the Coronavirus Trigger Diabetes?

So, how could the coronavirus disease trigger this widespread health problem?

The scientists involved in the studies surrounding the two problems believe that stress is one of the biggest triggers of diabetes and that people who have a viral infection have elevated stress due to the highly infectious nature of the virus.

Many who are positive are frightened that they could pass the virus to their family and friends, especially to the elderly population that is at most risk of catching and developing severe COVID-19.

In addition, they believe the new coronavirus could affect how our body processes sugar, especially as it triggers organs that play a massive role in our metabolism.

The receptors that the coronavirus uses to attach itself to a cell and hijack it are often found in the pancreas, kidneys, fat tissue, and the small intestine.

The Unknown Remains Unanswered

"We don't yet know the magnitude of the new onset diabetes in COVID-19 and if it will persist or resolve after the infection; and if so, whether or not or COVID-19 increases risk of future diabetes," said diabetes Professor Paul Zimmet from the Monash University in Melbourne and International Diabetes Federation's Honorary President.

Although it seems like forever since the new coronavirus has been discovered, we haven't had contact with it long enough to know how exactly the virus influences glucose metabolism.

Experts also have no clear view of whether it triggers classic type 1 diabetes or type 2, or perhaps create an entirely new form of the health problem.

With that, the team is creating the CoviDiab Registry project that will hopefully shed more light on the connection of the viral infection to diabetes.

"By establishing this Global Registry, we are calling on the international medical community to rapidly share relevant clinical observations that can help answer these questions," Zimmet further said.

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