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Adults over 40 with diabetes, COVID-19 more likely to be hospitalised than children: Study

HOUSTON: Adults over 40 years of age with type 1 diabetes if suffered from COVID-19 are seven times more likely to be hospitalised in comparison to children with same respiratory problem, according to a study.

"People with diabetes are at higher risk for COVID-19-related complications, especially if they are over the age of 40," the study, which was published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, said.

Children with COVID-19 rarely develop severe respiratory symptoms and often remain asymptomatic, the study said.

In contrast, adults experience respiratory symptoms of varying severity, with older adults and those with diabetes at higher risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome and death.

"Our study shows people over 40 with type 1 diabetes have worse outcomes from COVID-19 than children and young adults. Children and young adults experienced milder disease and a better prognosis," said Dr Carla Demeterco-Berggren, from the University of California San Diego.

"These findings indicate the need for age-tailored treatments, immunisation and clinical management of individuals affected by type 1 diabetes and COVID-19. Public health recommendations, including wearing masks and getting vaccinated, need to be followed by all to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19," she said.

The researchers studied data from 767 patients with COVID-19 and type 1 diabetes from 56 diabetes clinics across the US. Fifty-four percent were 18 or younger, 32 per cent were 19-40 years old and 14 per cent were over 40.

The study found patients over 40 were seven times more likely to be hospitalised with COVID-19 compared to the younger group.

No patients from the 18 and under group died, while three died from the over 40 age group and two died from the 19-40 age group.

People with diabetes and COVID-19 who were 40 and older were more likely to experience adverse outcomes such as death, diabetic ketoacidosis or severe hypoglycemia.

This group also had a significantly higher prevalence of obesity, hypertension or cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease when compared to the younger groups.

"The goal of our study is to prevent poor COVID-19 outcomes for adults with type 1 diabetes and to highlight the need to base health care decisions on data as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves," said Demeterco-Berggren.

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