COVID-19 is a deadly disease, and it is spreading rapidly in the United States. For the majority of people, the illness will be mild, but for people with diabetes, this disease poses a serious threat. People suffering from diabetes could develop serious to critical medical complications like pneumonia.
How the Coronavirus Affects People Suffering from Diabetes
The primary reason for this is that people with diabetes have a compromised immune system. Their immune system fails to respond well, so their body struggles to combat the virus. The virus seemingly thrives well in bodies with elevated blood glucose.
Diabetes tends to keep the body in a constant mild state of inflammation. This state makes it difficult for the body to heal or respond faster to infections. This is why people with diabetes have a 7% risk of dying from a Coronavirus infection.
Does this mean you’re doomed?
No, of course not. You can reduce the risk of developing severe symptoms by managing your blood sugar levels. Here are some tips on how to survive the Coronavirus despite suffering from diabetes.
Why Are People with Diabetes at Risk?
Viral infections in people with diabetes may result in severe complications including the following:
Illness or stress can increase sugar levels in people struggling with diabetes. This results in diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a state where the body does not have enough insulin to deal with high levels of blood sugar.
The body then starts to break down fats faster, resulting in ketones buildup in the blood. This buildup makes the blood quite acidic. This quickly results in serious health problems. This is why diabetic ketoacidosis needs to be treated.
Pneumonia is the common COVID-19 complication that is causing death worldwide. It is characterized by inflammation of the lungs’ air sacs. People suffering from diabetes are at risk of developing pneumonia once infected with COVID-19.
One of the symptoms of COVID-19 infection is severe sweating and high fever. People can lose a lot of fluids with COVID-19, which can lead to dehydration. You will need IV fluids.
High Blood Sugar
Infections, including COVID-19 infection, triggers the body’s stress response. This increases the body’s glucose production, which results in a spike in blood sugar levels. Your body needs extra insulin when you’re sick, so it is important to monitor your sugar levels frequently.
How to Protect Yourself from COVID-19
COVID-19 can spread through tiny droplets that are sprayed into the air when a sick person sneezes or coughs. You can inhale these droplets within 6 feet of people afflicted with the Coronavirus. You can also get this virus from surfaces that an infected person may have touched.
Here is how to protect yourself from this virus:
- Wash your hands frequently with water and soap, or use a 70% alcohol to sanitize your hand.
- Avoid touching frequently touched surfaces in public.
- Disinfect frequently used surfaces in your home like the tabletops, door handles, and countertops.
- Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, and mouth.
- Observe shelter-in-place and social distancing. Stay 6 feet away from other people when in public.
- Cover your mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick, especially someone who is ill with a fever or cold.
- Get at least 7 hours of sleep daily.
- Reduce your stress levels as much as possible.
- Observe a balanced diet and drink lots of water.
- Avoid contact with wildlife or farm animals.
What to Do If You Have Coronavirus
It is a great idea to plan ahead of what to do before you get ill. You need to get the contact information of your healthcare provider. You also need to stock up on your medications for diabetes and blood glucose monitoring.
You don’t want to leave the house if you get ill. You could see your glycemic control falter or deteriorate when you’re sick with COVID-19.
If you think you may have been infected with COVID-19, you need to observe sick day rules. Get in touch with your physician for advice on how you can manage your blood glucose during this period. Make sure you have adequate refills on your medication.
Sick Day Rules
- Monitor your blood glucose levels for spikes.
- Monitor your temperature and keep it down with Tylenol.
- Monitor your ketone bodies if you are on insulin.
- Keep hydrating because you would be losing liquids and electrolytes from the fever.
- If you start having breathing difficulty, go to the emergency room.
Outlook for People with Diabetes During Coronavirus Pandemic
Although you may be at risk of developing more serious symptoms or complications from COVID-19 infection, you can reduce your risk by ensuring that you maintain your ideal blood sugar levels. Make sure to follow prevention measures to avoid getting infected.