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Why do people with diabetes do worse with COVID-19 Infection?

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Many people, including those that are at the highest risk of severe infection with COVID-19, are on ACE inhibitors. These include people who have diabetes. ACE inhibitors work on blocking part of a hormonal pathway that controls fluid balance, through a receptor called ACE 1. They are used in people with diabetes to control blood pressure, treat heart failure or reduce the risks or slow the progression of kidney disease. Lisinopril, for example, is an ace inhibitor.

A recent report hypothesizes that folks with heart disease or diabetes may be at a high risk for severe coronavirus infection because they use these meds. The researchers rationalized that using these meds might altere and enhance attachment of SARs CoV-2 to lung tissue, making users more susceptible to severe infection.

So what’s the link between these meds and Coronavirus. The virus attaches to lung tissue through many types of receptors that help them enter cells. One of those is the ACE2 receptor; there’s no evidence in human or animal studies that show these medications enhance attachment of the virus to ACE 2 receptors.

The American Heart Association says there is no evidence, says it’s a hypothesis and do not stop taking your ACEi, especially without talking to your doctor first.

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on March 23, 2020
Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on March 23, 2020

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