Coronavirus (COVID-19) & Diabetes

woman with diabetes

Am I safe? This has become one of the most frequently asked questions of 2020. While we are starting to normalize social distancing during this pandemic, the fear of contracting coronavirus (COVID-19) is still very much real—especially for those with an underlying health condition like diabetes. Can your comorbidity influence the effect that coronavirus (COVID-19) has on your health? Does having an underlying ailment put you at greater risk of contraction? To ease your anxieties, one of the best things that you can do is educate yourself on the relationship of your ailment and coronavirus (COVID-19). While it’s important to note that coronavirus (COVID-19) is still a relatively new disease, familiarizing yourself with its symptoms and learning how to safely manage your underlying health concerns in this unprecedented time is important. 

In this article, we’ll focus on frequently asked questions concerning the relationship of coronavirus (COVID-19) and diabetes—helping you plan ahead during this pandemic and maintain your healthful practices while quarantining.

Are People With Diabetes at Greater Risk of Contracting Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The short answer: no. Having an underlying health condition, like diabetes, will not up your chances of contracting coronavirus (COVID-19). In fact, you’re no more likely to contract it than the general, healthy population. The question then becomes: Should you still be extra cautious in public settings, or avoid them altogether? Apart from being strongly encouraged by the CDC in an attempt to flatten the curve, social distancing and practicing good hygiene should especially be followed by those with diabetes or different underlying health complications. Why? Coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts people with comorbidities differently; more often than not, it’s for the worse.

Could Serious Complications Arise?

When it comes to contracting coronavirus (COVID-19), the primary concern for those with diabetes are the serious complications that could arise. In populations where the pandemic hit hard, many of those with diabetes had higher rates of serious complications and death than people without diabetes. Overall, it’s believed that the more health conditions someone has—diabetes, COPD, congestive heart failure, etc.—the higher their chances of facing serious complications from coronavirus (COVID-19). 

While those with diabetes are at greater risk of developing serious complications from coronavirus (COVID-19), current evidence suggests that this risk could decrease if your diabetes is well managed. Spiked blood sugar levels that are consistently high can already put  those with diabetes at greater risk of developing related complications. Viruses have also shown to increase inflammation in people with diabetes. What’s more, viral infections can increase the risk of DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) in those with diabetes—making it challenging to manage fluid intake and electrolyte levels. Both of those functions are vital in managing sepsis and sepsis shock, which are some of the more serious complications that diabetics can experience with coronavirus (COVID-19). 

How to Protect Yourself 

When a diabetic is faced with an extreme illness, fluctuating blood sugar levels, the risk of internal swelling, and DKA could all jeopardize the immune system and its ability to fight back. To protect yourself from coronavirus (COVID-19) and the serious complications that it can inflict if contracted, the ADA encourages people with diabetes to follow CDC guidelines and review “sick day rules” in the event of an infection. This includes:

  • Following social-distancing guidelines and wearing a cloth face covering in public
  • Following good hygiene practices, with particular emphasis on washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and avoiding hand contact with your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Carefully monitoring your blood glucose levels and, if on insulin, your ketone levels
  • Having a stock of medications and supplies for monitoring blood glucose levels at home to avoid repeated trips to the pharmacy

Having a healthcare plan in place in the case of illness or infection is also strongly encouraged for those at higher risk of having serious coronavirus-related (COVID-19) complications. For those with diabetes who are infected by the virus, glycaemic control could deteriorate—making this step particularly important. That’s where DispatchHealth’s services can help.

DispatchHealth Is Here For You

DispatchHealth is responding to coronavirus (COVID-19) by offering urgent healthcare services to at-risk patients in the comfort of their homes, helping you avoid overcrowded waiting rooms and limiting your exposure to others. Our services can be conveniently requested via phone, mobile app, or our website—where our staff of professional medical teams can evaluate, treat symptoms and secondary conditions, and test for coronavirus (COVID-19) at your home. To ensure the safety of our staff and patients, we’ve prioritized our sanitation processes—developing comprehensive infection prevention protocols and obtaining personal protective equipment (PPE) so our medical teams can safely treat you in your home. This includes wearing surgical masks, gloves, and protective eyewear for every patient encounter and thoroughly sanitizing our medical kits and cars between visits. 

dispatchhealth-medical-team

Staying safe and healthy during this pandemic doesn’t have to feel impossible when you have DispatchHealth on your side. Visit dispatchhealth.com/covid-19 to learn more about how we’re responding to coronavirus (COVID-19) and helping those with diabetes manage their acute medical needs. 

Sources

DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies. 

Sources referenced in this article: 

  1. https://www.diabetes.org/coronavirus-covid-19/how-coronavirus-impacts-people-with-diabetes
  2. https://www.jdrf.org/coronavirus/
  3. https://www.healthline.com/diabetesmine/coronavirus-and-diabetes
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fprepare%2Fprevention.html
  5. https://www.idf.org/our-network/regions-members/europe/europe-news/196-information-on-corona-virus-disease-2019-covid-19-outbreak-and-guidance-for-people-with-diabetes.html

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