Blood Sugar Control is Vital for Patients With Type 2 Diabetes, COVID-19


A retrospective study has found that well-controlled blood glucose was associated with improved outcomes among COVID-19 patients.

Although having type 2 diabetes (T2D) has been found to increase the need for medical interventions and the mortality risk in patients with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a retrospective study has found that well-controlled blood glucose was associated with improved outcomes.1

Elderly individuals and those with pre-existing conditions, such as T2D, are at the highest risk of developing severe COVID-19, as well as experiencing a higher risk of mortality, according to the study authors. They called the combination of COVID-19 and T2D a “collision between the 2 global pandemics,” and added that T2D is the second most common comorbidity of COVID-19.1 Because of these concerns, the investigators aimed to gain a better understanding of the relationship between blood glucose levels and COVID-19 complications and mortality levels.1

The retrospective longitudinal multi-center study enrolled 7337 patients with confirmed COVID-19, spread across 19 hospitals in Hubei Province, China. Of the 952 patients with T2D, 282 had well-controlled blood glucose while the other 528 did not.1

Significantly, the data showed that patients admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 and T2D required more medical interventions, but despite those interventions, they also had significantly higher mortality rates. Specifically, those with T2D had a 7.8% mortality rate compared with 2.7% of those without T2D. The investigators also noted a greater incidence of multiple organ injury among patients with T2D.1

The investigators said they were surprised to see that patients with well-controlled blood sugar had lower mortality rates compared with those with poorly controlled levels. Furthermore, those with well-managed T2D also received fewer medical interventions, including supplemental oxygen or ventilation, and had fewer overall complications.1

“We were surprised to see such favorable outcomes in [the] well-controlled blood glucose group among patients with COVID-19 and pre-existing type 2 diabetes,” said senior author Hongliang Li, MD, in a statement. “Considering that people with diabetes had much higher risk for death and various complications, and there are no specific drugs for COVID-19, our findings indicate that controlling blood glucose well may act as an effective auxiliary approach to improve the prognosis of patinets with COVID-19 and pre-existing diabetes.”2


  • Zhu L, She Z, Cheng X, et al. Association of Blood Glucose Control and Outcomes in Patients with COVID-19 and Pre-existing Type 2 Diabetes. Cell Metabolism; May 1, 2020. Accessed May 12, 2020.
  • For people with diabetes and COVID-19, blood sugar control is key [news release]. Science Daily; May 1, 2020. Accessed May 12, 2020.

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