Do individuals with diabetes have a higher risk of getting coronavirus? And are diabetic individuals less likely to recover from the virus? The answer might be yes. In this blog, we will be sharing with you some of the reasons why they might be at a higher risk of getting the virus.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) said in a statement that “In general, people with diabetes face greater risks of complications when dealing with viral infections like flu, and that is likely to be true with COVID-19”. The reason for higher risk whether it be flu, pneumonia, and COVID-19 is due to the glucose levels. When glucose levels fluctuate or increase for a prolonged period of time, diabetic patients experience lower immunity against disease, thus leading them to catch viruses and diseases faster. In fact, even when the glucose levels are at good stand, just the fact that this individual is diagnosed with diabetes classifies him or her as someone with an underlying medical condition or health issues.
Although there is no proven or cause-and-effect relationship between diabetes and deaths resulting from COVID-19, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports below numbers of a higher case-fatality rate among those individuals with preexisting health conditions:
- 10.5% for cardiovascular disease
- 7.3% for diabetes
- 6.3% for chronic respiratory disease
- 6.0% for hypertension
- 5.6% for cancer
One way to protect yourself or your loved ones regardless of underlying health conditions is to social distance at least 6 ft. Second, wash hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Third, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as they are the entrance for the germs to enter your body. Fourth, make sure that you are up to date with vaccinations such as flu and pneumonia shot.
These precautions are emphasized for those with diabetes or with other health conditions. Therefore, it is crucial that these are well implemented as part of a daily routine for those who may be at a higher risk. According to researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, “If 60 percent rather than 20 percent of air travelers maintained clean hands, it could slow down the spread of infections by almost 70 percent”.
CDC now reversed its earlier guidance on usage of face masks and recommends wearing cloth face coverings or masks in public places such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and especially, in areas where a significant amount of spread of coronavirus has been reported.
Individuals with diabetes are strongly encouraged to keep basic hygiene, achieve good glucose control, and stay hydrated. Besides these measures, they are advised to get a flu shot to prevent any kind of illness to begin with, be extra careful around people who may be showing signs of respiratory illnesses (coughing, sneezing, and etc) and keep distance from them, and maintain a humid environment as dry nasal passages can open the door for the germs to enter into the respiratory system.
If you are diabetic and rely on insulin, it is recommended that you have extra insulin on hand, preferably a month’s worth along with extra glucose monitoring and diabetes supplied. Many people have been fearing for shortages of such supplies and COVID19 will definitely impact medical product supply chain as mentioned by FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn. However, Eli Lilly, one of the big threes of U.S. insulin manufacturers assured customers that they do not anticipate shortages for their products including all forms of insulin, as well as Insulet, makers of the tubeless Omnipod insulin pump.
During this time of uncertainties, it is always better to be prepared ahead of time for unexpectancies and be extra cautious about keeping your body healthy and safe from coronavirus. If you are diabetic, it is crucial that you wash your hands frequently and emphasize good personal hygiene as much as you can. First and the most important step is protection as there is no vaccine that is available for treatment at the moment. Continue to implement social distancing, avoid touching your face, wash hands, stay hydrated, and stay home.
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