Researchers reviewed findings from 158 global studies to determine how COVID-19 affects people living with diabetes

A study conducted by researchers from the University of Aberdeen has found that people with diabetes are almost twice as likely to die with COVID-19, and almost three times as likely to be critically or severely ill, compared to those without the condition.

The study reviewed data from thousands of people all over the world and found that good management of the condition can mitigate against the risks. In collaboration with King’s College, London, the results found that while diabetes presents a significant risk of severe illness and death with COVID-19, good control of blood sugar in patients can reduce such threats.

Researchers reviewed findings from 158 studies, which included more than 270,000 participants from all over the world to determine how COVID-19 affects people living with diabetes.

The results revealed that people with diabetes were 1.87 times more likely to die with COVID-19, 1.59 times more likely to be admitted to ICU, 1.44 times more likely to require ventilation and 2.88 times more likely to be classed as severe or critical, when compared to patients without diabetes.

Accurate prediction of severe disease can help prioritise vaccinations for the highest risk groups and enables effective planning of appropriate health and economic policies for resource-limited nations.

Stavroula Kastora who worked on the study alongside Professor Mirela Delibegovic and Professor Phyo Myint, commented: “We found that following a COVID-19 infection, the risk of death for patients with diabetes was significantly increased in comparison to patients without diabetes.

“Equally, collective data from studies around the globe suggested that patients with diabetes had a significantly higher risk of requiring an intensive care admission and supplementary oxygen, or being admitted in a critical condition, in comparison to patients without diabetes,” she added.