HealthDay News — The risk for diabetes is increased after COVID-19 infection, even during the current phase dominated by omicron variants, according to a research letter published online February 14 in JAMA Network Open.

Alan C. Kwan, MD, from Cedars Sinai Medical Center Los Angeles, and colleagues examined whether the risks for cardiometabolic disease noted after COVID-19 infection in the early phases of the pandemic persist in the current phase, dominated by less virulent omicron variants. The odds of a new cardiometabolic diagnosis were estimated 90 days after vs 90 days before COVID-19 infection. The odds of new cardiometabolic diagnoses were compared to those of a new benchmark diagnosis (urinary tract infection and gastroesophageal reflux) to account for temporal confounders resulting from disruptions in health care use during the pandemic.

Data were included for 23,709 patients with one or more COVID-19 infections. The researchers found that the rates of new-onset diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and benchmark diagnoses were higher in the 90 days after vs before COVID-19 infection. Postinfection, the highest odds were seen for diabetes, hypertension, benchmark diagnoses, and hyperlipidemia (2.35, 1.54, 1.42, and 1.22, respectively). The risk for new-onset diabetes occurring after vs before COVID-19 infection was significantly elevated compared with benchmark diagnoses in adjusted multivariable models (odds ratio, 1.58), but no increase was seen in the risks for hypertension and hyperlipidemia. The risk for diabetes after COVID-19 was higher among unvaccinated than vaccinated patients, but the interaction between vaccination status and diabetes diagnosis was not significant.

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“Mechanisms contributing to postinfection diabetes risk remain unclear, although persistent inflammation contributing to insulin resistance is a proposed pathway,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

Abstract/Full Text