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Diabetes and Covid 19

At uncertain times such as these, we are often asked by our patients with diabetes, what extra risks apply to them simply because they have diabetes.

As far as we know, having diabetes does not make it more likely that you will get infected. In a pandemic, short of total isolation, the population as a whole is vulnerable.

London Diabetes Centre's Ralph Abraham has given the following advice for those living with Diabetes during the current pandemic:

''I am often asked if having diabetes increases one’s chances of getting the Covid 19 infection.   There is of course no hard evidence available on this but the question stems from the increased vulnerability to serious progression or death in a person with diabetes.

Diabetes does not appear to confer extra risk of catching COVID-19 but once you get COVID-19, like all other vulnerable groups, you are at greater risk of serious consequences
So the sensible advice remains, stay healthy, look after your diabetes well, and follow the Government recommendations on social distancing, washing hands, and wearing appropriate PPE when required.''

You need to do everything possible to avoid situations where you are exposed to others or the surfaces they have touched.

Following the Government’s advice on staying at home is the single most important thing everyone can do

However, there is evidence that people with diabetes fare less well when they contract COVID-19. This is presumed to be because people with diabetes are believed to have less resistance to infection.

Is it linked to glucose levels? We do not know. But there is a lot that all who have diabetes can do to help themselves

Glucose levels rise when you are ill with any illness, so diabetes needs greater care and management when you are ill.

Here are 5 action points -

  1. Do not take unnecessary risks in exposing yourself or your nearest and dearest to infection with this virus which is everywhere
  2. If you feel unwell, appreciate that your diabetes will get worse and you will probably need more medication and help from your diabetes team
  3. Stay well hydrated and do not use sweetened drinks
  4. Check your temperature, and if you have a new cough or breathing difficulties, isolate and contact the NHS111 for advice
  5. Do not stop your diabetes medication and measure your blood glucose and blood ketones, if you have been instructed to do so

If in doubt, contact your diabetes carer (The London Diabetes Centre is available with phone or video consultations during working hours)

For more information, there is further advice on the Diabetes.co.uk website

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