Is Diabetes a Risk Factor for COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Infection?

No. Studies have shown the chance of acquiring COVID19 is same between diabetic and non-diabetic individuals.

But once you acquire the infection, your blood sugar plays a crucial role in outcome of COVID19. Those who have uncontrolled diabetes are more prone to COVID19 complications and death due to COVID19.

It was confirmed by a Chinese study (that included more than 70000 COVID19 patients) that diabetic individuals had 7.3% higher mortality than non-diabetic individuals.

Why is it so?

  1. Actually, uncontrolled diabetes is an immunocompromised state and this weak immunity power can not fight against the virus, thus it spreads in the body resulting in increased complications and death.
  2. Moreover, who are already suffering from diabetic complications like nephropathy and ischaemic heart diseases are more prone to develop COVID19 complications.

So, the following points needs to be remembered:

  • Diabetes per se doesn’t increase chance of COVID19 infection
  • Uncontrolled diabetes predicts poor outcome from COVID19, including death
  • One must stress upon good sugar control to stay safe
  • Proper diet and exercise are the cornerstone of good diabetes control
  • One must continue all the medicines and/or insulin during lockdown period
  • Home based blood sugar monitoring should be stressed to strengthen social distancing
  • Need for telemedicine is of utmost importance for all diabetics to dispel the myths regarding diabetes management in this situation.

As per American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommendation, “people with diabetes do face a higher chance of experiencing serious complications from COVID-19”. However, “Your risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 is likely to be lower if your diabetes is well-managed.”

This is really assuring as most patient who follow his/her specialist’s prescription meticulously, have a good glycaemic control.

Still, if you any symptom like dry cough, fever, difficulty in breathing, you must consult your doctor (endocrinologist) for further management.

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