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COVID-19 And Diabetes: What You Need To Know

The coronavirus infection or the COVID-19 causes a respiratory infection where the patients develop mild to severe symptoms including a cough, fever, and difficulty breathing, which can take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19 [1].

The lack of information and the developing studies regarding this new strain of the virus which has caused the world to come to stand-still have contributed towards a global panic. As the virus attacks people based on the age-groups and health conditions, people with conditions such as diabetes have been directed to take extra precautions [2].

Diabetes is a chronic disease and hence its link to the immune system has indeed resulted in an abundance of questions and concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on diabetic individuals. We will focus on the available data regarding coronavirus and diabetes, as of now.

Diabetic individuals, especially ones with poor glycemic control have an increased risk of contracting the infection. People with diabetes are considered a high-risk group by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [3].

With the immune system being compromised due to chronic diseases, diabetic individuals become easy preys to the virus. And, it is the same case for people with well-managed diabetes as well.

As per the American Diabetes Association’s COVID-19 page report, “preliminary data show that the elderly and those with baseline chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and lung disease, appear to be at higher risk for experiencing severe illness with this virus. [High blood glucose levels challenge] the immune system, leaving the body vulnerable to severe outcomes with infections. Working with your diabetes care team to manage blood sugars would help the immune system to function properly and increase overall wellness. In addition, keep a careful eye on your blood sugar if you are sick; illness can cause blood sugars to spike, leading to severe complications that further weaken the body’s ability to fight the virus” [4].

Therefore, as of now, the best measure is to continue following your medicines and habits and if you feel the need to visit your doctor, make sure you carry it out through telephonic conversations or online, so as to reduce the risk of the virus being spread.

Steps To Reduce COVID-19 Exposure For Diabetics

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Sneeze and cough into your sleeve. When using tissues, immediately dispose of them into the garbage as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Regularly clean commonly used surfaces and devices you touch or handle.
  • Try to avoid contact with people who are showing symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing.
  • Avoid travelling.
  • If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health-care provider.
  • If you have a scheduled visit with your health-care provider, contact them via phone or online portal first to see what other options you may have.