CoronaVirus Vs. Diabetes : Risk Involved and How To Take Care of a Diabetic Patients

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some people are at higher risk of getting infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) and becoming severely ill, compared to others. Therefore, it is reasonable to be curious about how this virus can affect you or your loved ones, depending you’re your pre-existing body condition and age.

For example, having diabetes does not put you at a higher risk of getting coronavirus compared to the rest of the people. However, you are more likely to get severely ill when you contract the virus. A study of coronavirus infection cases in China showed that people with diabetes had a 7% death rate. People with diabetes experienced more complications and deaths compared to non-diabetics.

People with pre-existing conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, lung disorders were also more prone to becoming seriously ill from coronavirus. The study in China also revealed that older people are more susceptible to succumbing to covid.

A. Reasons for severe illness in diabetic patients with coronavirus

Being diabetic comes with complications that can worsen if one does not manage their condition well. Note, varying blood sugar levels in a person with diabetes makes their white blood cells weaker, and also, the white blood cells count does reduce. When the immune system is compromised, it becomes difficult to fight viral infections, including corona. 

Secondly, people with diabetes can experience internal swelling or inflammation from viral infections like COVID-19. Also, having a viral infection increases the chances of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), particularly for type 1 diabetes. DKA can make you vulnerable to sepsis and septic shock because it makes it difficult for your body to control the fluid intake and regulate electrolyte.

B. Coronavirus Symptoms

Some of the coronavirus signs and symptoms you should watch out for include coughing, high body temperature, difficulty in breathing, and headache.

C. Precautions to lower coronavirus Effects Among diabetic Patients

It is vital to know how to take care of a diabetic patient to reduce their risk of getting coronavirus disease. These steps can ensure coronavirus prevention for you and your loved one with diabetes.

  • Get the supplies you need.
    It is essential to refill your medications and have enough supplies to last you between one to three months. If the coronavirus disease worsens and your area is put under lockdown, you will still have your medication. You’ll also need supplies like simple carbs that can boost your blood sugar when needed. Stocking up on insulin, syringes, ketone strips, and anything you use to control diabetes is an excellent idea because you might need them.
  • Prepare your sick-day kit
    If there’s someone taking care of you, they’ll need vital information should you fall sick. This information includes the medications you are currently on, your doctor’s name and contacts, where you keep your simple carbohydrates, insulin, ketone strips, hand sanitizer, and anything they can use to take care of you.

Therefore, you can have a kit somewhere with all this information and some supplies if you wish. Your sick-day package should make it clear that you have diabetes. This information will help to give you the right care when you need it. If you are taking care of a diabetic patient, this kit can help someone else provide them with care if you are not around.

  • Stay away from people showing the corona symptoms discussed. Distancing yourself will protect you from contracting the virus.
  • Maintain good hygiene by regularly washing your hands with soap and water or cleaning them with a hand sanitizer.
  • Refrain from traveling with public transportation. If you have to, then avoid rush hour to limit the number of people you come in contact with.
  • Embrace working from home to reduce the risk of coming in contact with infected people. If you propose this to your employer, there are high chances they might agree, given that corona has become a global pandemic.
  • Stay away from large gatherings and small crowded places. Examples include concerts, pubs, and theatres full of people.
  • Practice social distancing with friends and family. Physically staying away from your loved ones might be hard, but it can keep you safe from covid. You can still keep in touch through calls, messages, and social media.
  • If you need to contact your doctor or order for essential services, you can call or communicate online. The goal is to avoid going to places and getting infected with corona.
  • It is advisable to avoid cuts and bleeds because they can turn into infections, which can further weaken your immune system. If you happen to have minor cuts and bleeds, take care of them as soon as possible.

D. Steps to take if you contract coronavirus

If you experience signs of coronavirus, you should call a doctor or the emergency teams in your area or country and explain your suspicions and how you are feeling. The healthcare practitioners will advise you on what to do.

If you have severe symptoms, you may be hospitalized. If advised to stay at home, you can use these tips to help you recover.

  • Drink plenty of fluids to ensure you are well hydrated. When you are hydrated, your immune system is stronger, and your body will fight off the fever that accompanies COVID-19.
  • Consume simple carbohydrates to prevent your blood sugar levels from dropping. Examples of these carbohydrates include popsicles, honey, soda, and jam.
  • If you have high blood sugar levels, you need to check for ketones. A simple urine test can help you confirm whether you are developing diabetic ketoacidosis. Your doctor can advise you on how frequently to do this and steps to take. Please note that ketones (DKA) can cause diabetic coma or death. If the test shows the presence of average or big ketones, inform your doctor immediately
  • Observe frequent washing of hands using soap and water or cleaning with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Engaging in physical activities helps to boost your immune system and improves your chances of recovering from the coronavirus. A 10 to 15-minute walk around the home is an example of a simple exercise you can do at home.

E. Emergency warning signs for diabetic people with coronavirus infection

There are various coronavirus symptoms in humans ranging from mild to severe. If you experience difficulty breathing, getting confused, continuous chest pain, or your lips and face turning blue, you should call a doctor immediately.

F. What you need to know if you have a diabetic relative

Taking good care of your diabetic relative will reduce their risk of getting coronavirus and improve their chances of fighting the infection if they get it. The guidelines discussed here will help you provide the care they need. Thus, it is vital to apply them and to check out for regular updates on the virus and its effect on diabetic people. Some of the reliable sites you can check out include the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

G. Advice to diabetic Patients In Reference to Coronavirus

Having diabetes makes you prone to severe illness if you get coronavirus. That is why you need to be armed with information on precautions to take to prevent coronavirus infection and transmission. You also need to know how to care for yourself or guide others in taking care of you if you get infected with corona. 

Final Thoughts

If you have diabetes or are caring for a loved one with the condition, you cannot leave their health to chance. With coronavirus cases increasing daily, it’s vital to take precautions to ensure protection from the virus. The precautions include practicing social distancing, observing proper hygiene, stocking up on required supplies, and exercising. You should know when to seek medical assistance, such as when you suspect you have coronavirus or experience the emergency warning signs.

Dr. Rishab Sharma

Dr. Rishab Sharma MBBS, MD (Internal Medicine) He is associated with Fortis Escorts Hospital, Jaipur. Dr. Rishab has wide experience in managing a variety of diseases, as well as managing critical care units in large government and corporate hospitals.

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