Increased Non-COVID-19-Related Deaths and Sight Loss in People with Diabetes During the Pandemic

Increased Non-COVID-19-Related Deaths and Sight Loss in People with Diabetes During the Pandemic

A recent global study review led by a public health researcher at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic has had significant negative impacts on people with diabetes. The study, commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) and published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, examined the effects of pandemic-related disruptions on this vulnerable population.

The review analyzed 138 studies from various regions, comparing pre-pandemic and during pandemic periods. The findings showed an alarming increase in non-COVID-19-related deaths among individuals with diabetes during the pandemic. Additionally, there was a rise in the diabetes complication of sight loss.

Moreover, the review highlighted a concerning trend of diabetes-related admissions to pediatric ICUs, particularly among children and adolescents. Cases of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a serious and potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes, also increased in this age group. These cases included both new-onset diabetes and coinciding DKA, indicating a more severe presentation.

The impact on children was found to be consistent across countries, underscoring the significance of pediatric ICU admissions and DKA in this population. Access to healthcare and the utilization of healthcare services were identified as contributing factors to these distressing outcomes.

The study’s lead author, Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, emphasized the need for regular eye screenings, as reduced access to healthcare during the pandemic resulted in more instances of sight loss in individuals with diabetes. Additionally, the researchers discovered an unexpectedly high number of new cases of Type 1 diabetes, with the newly diagnosed children being sicker than those diagnosed before the pandemic.

Diabetes management, including self-care with diet, physical activity, and consistent routines, became challenging during the pandemic. The study highlighted the personal experiences of individuals with diabetes, inspiring further research into the indirect impacts of the pandemic on diabetes management.

The review emphasized that the negative impacts were more pronounced among females, younger individuals, and racial and ethnic minority groups. These findings reinforce the importance of considering such disparities in pandemic planning and ensuring equal access to diabetes medication and care for all individuals with diabetes.

While the study provides valuable insights into the immediate effects of the pandemic on people with diabetes, further research is needed to understand the long-term consequences. Hartmann-Boyce hopes to update the review in the future to explore the delayed impacts that may emerge over the next decade.

Ultimately, this study serves as a stark reminder of the challenges faced by individuals with diabetes during the pandemic and underscores the need for comprehensive healthcare planning and support for this vulnerable population.

FAQ – The Impact of COVID-19 on People with Diabetes

Q: What is the main finding of the study?
A: The study reveals that the COVID-19 pandemic has had significant negative impacts on people with diabetes, including an increase in non-COVID-19-related deaths and diabetes-related complications.

Q: How many studies were analyzed in the review?
A: The review analyzed 138 studies from various regions.

Q: What were the specific impacts on children with diabetes?
A: The review found an alarming increase in diabetes-related admissions to pediatric ICUs, particularly among children and adolescents. Cases of a serious complication called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) also increased in this age group.

Q: What were the contributing factors to these distressing outcomes for children?
A: Access to healthcare and the utilization of healthcare services were identified as contributing factors to the increase in pediatric ICU admissions and DKA cases.

Q: What is the recommendation for individuals with diabetes?
A: The study’s lead author emphasized the need for regular eye screenings and highlighted the importance of diabetes management, including self-care with diet, physical activity, and consistent routines.

Q: Who did the negative impacts of the pandemic affect more?
A: The negative impacts were found to be more pronounced among females, younger individuals, and racial and ethnic minority groups.

Q: What does the study suggest about pandemic planning?
A: The findings reinforce the importance of considering disparities and ensuring equal access to diabetes medication and care for all individuals with diabetes in pandemic planning.

Q: What is the call for further research?
A: While the study provides valuable insights into the immediate effects of the pandemic on people with diabetes, further research is needed to understand the long-term consequences and delayed impacts that may emerge over the next decade.

Q: What is the overall message of the study?
A: The study serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by individuals with diabetes during the pandemic and highlights the need for comprehensive healthcare planning and support for this vulnerable population.

Definitions:
– Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA): A serious and potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes characterized by high levels of ketones in the blood.
– Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology: A reputable medical journal that published the study.

Suggested Related Links:
World Health Organization (WHO)
American Diabetes Association

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