CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Multiple studies show people who have contracted COVID-19 may be at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

However, Abhijit Duggal, MD, critical care specialist for Cleveland Clinic said more research still needs to be done to understand why that is.

“In scientific terms, what we usually say is we have shown an association, we have not shown any causation, said Dr. Duggal. “So this is something we are seeing that kind of goes hand in hand, but we cannot prove right now that this is the cause of diabetes itself.”

Dr. Duggal said they also have to consider the possibility that these individuals were already at greater risk for developing diabetes and the virus just simply unmasked it.

Another factor could be that more cases of diabetes are being reported now since long-haulers are being more closely monitored by their physicians.

With that being said, if you suspect you may have diabetes after contracting COVID, there are certain symptoms to look out for, like being very thirsty and hungry, having frequent urination, experiencing numbness in hands and feet, and losing weight without trying.

Dr. Duggal said in order to prevent these kinds of COVID-related issues, it’s important to make sure you’re vaccinated and boosted.

“We are seeing a lot of consequences in terms of long COVID and in terms of other factors. So absolutely, vaccinations, boosters and prevention remain the bedrocks for our fight against COVID,” he said.

Dr. Duggal said it’s hard to say whether people who had COVID and developed diabetes will have to deal with it long-term or if it could just be temporary. He said more research needs to be done.