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Men and older adults with diabetes at higher risk of death from Covid-19

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Men and older adults with more advanced diabetes have a higher risk of death when infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind Covid-19, according to a large study.

The findings showed that men with diabetes were 28 percent more likely to die with Covid-19 than women with diabetes. People aged over 65 with diabetes were also over three times more likely to die than those under that age with diabetes.

With each five-year increase in age, the relative risk for Covid-19 related death in people living with diabetes increased by 43 percent, said the team of researchers from German Diabetes Centre, Leibniz Centre for Diabetes Research at Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf, Germany.

The team conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 22 studies and 17,687 people. The results, published in the journal Diabetologia, showed that patients using insulin to control their diabetes were found to be 75 per cent more likely to die with Covid-19 than non-insulin users.A

Conversely, people treating their diabetes with metformin (the ‘first line’ therapy used in most cases of Type-2 diabetes) were 50 percent less likely to die with Covid-19 than those not using metformin.

Further, cardiovascular disease (by 56 per cent), chronic kidney disease (by 93 per cent) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (by 40 per cent) all increased risk of Covid-19-related death in people living with diabetes.

“Male sex, older age and some pre-existing conditions, as well as the use of insulin, most of which are potential indicators for a more progressive course of diabetes, were associated with increased risk of Covid-19 related death and severity in individuals with diabetes and SARS-CoV-2 infection, whereas metformin use was associated with a lower risk of death,” said Sabrina Schlesinger from the varsity.

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