On a warm sunny Sunday in July of 2021, while listening to music, relaxing, and having a nice glass of white wine at a winery, my friend mentioned that she was having trouble breathing and wasn’t feeling well. Our conversation led us to research doctors and create a list to schedule a few visits. The discussion also included the side-effects of COVID-19 that I had heard about creating fatigue and breathing issues. She mentioned that in January of 2021, she and her husband were both very sick with the virus symptoms for a week but didn’t get a COVID-19 test or visit a doctor. We both thought the virus may have caused her conditions.
Several weeks later, after a few doctors’ appointments, the doctor diagnosed her with diabetes and indicated that it had started about six months earlier. She was also suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD. So began my research into diabetes and breathing conditions that SARS-CoV-2 may cause. For this article, my focus was only on diabetes.
My research indicates that the virus and vaccine are related to cases of diabetes.
There are several research projects to review; I’ve listed three with short overviews to create awareness. In March 2021, research titled COVID-19 Vaccine and Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic State indicated that a patient received a vaccine that may have induced type 2 diabetes. Research published in June 2021 by Stanford University School of Medicine and Weill Cornell Medicine confirmed that COVID-19 could infect pancreatic beta cells and lead to type 1 diabetes. Another research project completed by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Meuhedet HMO, Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT), and Hadassah Medical Center indicates that the virus could impact patients’ sugar levels with no diagnosis of diabetes.
Now that the research has recognized that diabetes is a side-effect of SARS-CoV-2 and vaccines may also induce diabetes, researchers will continue developing more information to help doctors and patients. The National Institutes of Health has also recognized the possibility that COVID-19 causes damage to the pancreas.
“More study is needed to understand how SARS-CoV-2 reaches the pancreas and what role the immune system might play in the resulting damage,” said Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health.
According to the American Diabetes Association (2021), 34.2 million Americans live with diabetes. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 463 million people globally live with diabetes. Diabetes globally is expected to rise due to individual living styles. However, due to the theory that COVID-19 and vaccines may be causing diabetes, researchers will use a new global registry of COVID-19-related diabetes to examine the increasing numbers and personal data to understand its impact.
No one knows how many times they have been exposed to COVID-19 or if the vaccine will trigger the disease over time. Even if you have been and think that you are healthy, be aware of the symptoms of diabetes. According to the CDC, the following are symptoms of diabetes include:
- Urinating (peeing) a lot, often at night.
- Increased thirst.
- Losing weight without trying.
- Increased hunger.
- Blurred vision.
- Numb or tingling hands or feet.
- Feeling very tired.
- Dehydrated skin.
- Sores that heal slowly; and
- More infections than usual.
Remember, it’s best to identify illnesses early to gain a cure or treatment. Although there is no cure for diabetes or COPD, both conditions are treatable. Be aware of your health and stay safe!