Research shows people with diabetes may be more susceptible to severe complications if infected with coronavirus. Fortunately, you can protect yourself.
As we already know, those with underlying health conditions and chronic health problems are more likely to suffer severe consequences if infected with the novel coronavirus.
According to a study published in the journal Cell Metabolism, there is evidence that individuals with type 2 diabetes are more likely to experience severe complications if infected with the novel coronavirus.
Fortunately, if blood sugar is well controlled, this may not be the case, according to experts.
“We were surprised to see such favorable outcomes in well-controlled blood glucose groups among patients with Covid-19 and pre-existing type 2 diabetes,” said senior author Hongliang Li from Wuhan University Renmin Hospital in a report.
“Considering that people with diabetes had a much higher risk of death and various complications, and there are no specific drugs for Covid-19, our findings indicate that well-controlled blood glucose may act as an effective adjunctive approach to improve the prognosis of patients with Covid-19 and pre-existing diabetes.”
According to Dr. Zweli Mkhize, the Health Minister of South Africa, data from hospitalized patients suggests that comorbidities worsen symptoms and lead to a more negative outcome during the Covid-19 pandemic. He specifically referred to diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease in his report.
Based on the latest data, about four million South African adults have diabetes – a prevalence of 12.8%. Li’s study also shows that those who were hospitalized with Covid-19 and have type 2 diabetes as a comorbidity are more likely to require more medical interventions and generally have a higher risk of more severe symptoms.
A better outcome for blood sugar control
Li also mentioned that those with better-controlled blood sugar levels and generally healthier lifestyles are less likely to suffer severe consequences with Covid-19 and less likely to die from complications. He says this underscores the importance of people with diabetes continuing to monitor their condition during the pandemic.
Li pointed out three new findings:
- People with diabetes have a higher chance of dying from Covid-19 and should take extra precautions such as self-isolation and physical distancing.
- People with diabetes should continue to monitor their blood sugar levels to keep it under control.
- If a diabetic individual gets infected, a medical specialist should constantly monitor their blood sugar level.
Take extra care
While diabetes should be controlled throughout the year, it is especially important during the Covid-19 outbreak. Here are some additional tips from a previous Health24 article:
- Take your medication correctly and according to your doctor’s instructions. Contact your medical specialist regularly to discuss any potential side effects.
- Maintain a healthy diet – try to avoid processed, fatty, and sugary foods.
- Aim for moderate exercise at least three times a week.
- Manage stress as best as possible, as stress releases cortisol, which inhibits the effects of insulin.
- Get enough sleep.
- Don’t hesitate to visit the doctor for important check-ups. If you are unsure whether to go to the office, call to make sure.