Seiso Motlhale – diagnosed with diabetes after COVID

After testing positive for COVID, Seiso Motlhale was also diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. He tells us more.

Seiso Motlhale (39) lives in Bloemfontein, Free State with his wife and two children. 

In August 2020 after testing positive for COVID and being treated with vitamin B, C, and zinc, Seiso suffered with headaches and dizziness so he went back to his doctor. After more tests, Seiso was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

“I was shocked because I’m active person and train almost three times a week. Luckily, I knew a bit about diabetes, but I felt I needed more support and information, so I contacted Diabetes SA,” Seiso says.

Seiso was prescribed atorvastatin (20mg), gliclazide (60mg), and metformin hydrochloride  (1000mg). He also changed his diet and cut down alcohol, but he adds it’s not easy. Luckily his wife and kids have been very supportive by changing 60% of their diet to accommodate him.

“I am slowly getting there. Plus, for the sake of my health I have to compromise. I only drink gin or dry wine; I don’t drink beer or sweet things anymore.”

The father of two still exercises three times a week, running 5km, and hopes to change the negative mindset people have about diabetes. “I never thought someone at my age will have diabetes, but it goes to show, anyone can get it and the public needs to know this and look out for the symptoms,” Seiso says.

Can COVID cause diabetes?

Information published in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, a medical journal, looked at the proportion of newly diagnosed diabetes in people with COVID-19 infection.

“This is commonly observed, occurring in as many as 14,4% of those admitted to hospital with COVID. Again, a number of factors may be responsible. Undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes is common and may have been present before contracting COVID-19. The severe inflammatory response induced by the virus and the resultant need for corticosteroid treatment may precipitate diabetes in prone individuals. However, there is also evidence to suggest that the virus itself may directly destroy the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas.”

It was also reported in Medical News Today, that an international group of diabetes experts believes that some people may develop diabetes for the first time due to severe COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. They have set up a registry to investigate the possible link and inform future treatment.



Laurelle Williams is the Editor at Word for Word Media. She graduated from AFDA with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Live Performance. She has a love for storytelling and sharing emotions through the power of words. Her aim is to educate, encourage and most of all show there is always hope. Feel free to email Laurelle on [email protected]