Anyone would agree that the most alarming part about the COVID-19 pandemic is its ability to take people away fast. Although not regarded as the deadliest pandemic in history, the global death toll from the virus has currently reached roughly 5.99 million. And with no end yet in sight for the health crisis, this number is only growing by the day.
COVID-19 has brought a lot of fear to people, as the world was put on frequent lockdown measures and quarantine restrictions to prevent the further spread of the virus. Links to comorbidities and how it makes coronavirus infections more fatal have also added insult to injury.
People with underlying medical conditions are more prone to contracting severe symptoms of the COVID-19 virus than the general public.
According to a study, the main comorbidities associated with the infection affecting elderlies include cardiovascular disease and diabetes, accounting for 72.72%, followed by hypertension at 63.63%. These conditions were linked with high mortality and an increased risk of hospitalization when infected with the virus.
If you have diabetes or know someone who has it and want clarity on this matter, you came to the right place. This guide will discuss the correlation between COVID-19 and diabetes and give you tips on how to manage diabetes amid the pandemic.
Diabetes Management During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Everything has changed during the pandemic, especially when it comes to how people manage their health. Hospital visits are stricter, medicines are harder to get, and safety protocols are followed everywhere.
However, one thing has not changed. Whether a person has COVID-19 or not, diabetes is a serious medical condition that must be addressed and monitored at all times.
COVID-19 and Diabetes: General FAQs1, 2, 3
Want to know how COVID-19 associates with diabetes? Find the answers you’re looking for to these frequently asked questions.
Q: Are people with diabetes more prone to get COVID-19?
A: There is not enough data to prove that persons with diabetes are more susceptible to acquiring the COVID-19 infection. Instead, the issue for patients with the condition is that they are more likely to have severe complications if they get coronavirus—not that they are more likely to contract it.
Q: Do people with diabetes have a higher risk of experiencing serious complications from COVID-19?
A: When infected with any virus, persons with diabetes are more prone to suffer more severe symptoms and complications. If your diabetes is more managed, your chances of being unwell from coronavirus will likely decrease.
However, if your blood sugar is persistently over 200 mg/dl, for example, it will affect your ability to fight the virus. Hyperglycemia is a problem for healing because it reduces the effectiveness of the immune system’s defense cells.
Q: Does COVID-19 cause diabetes?
A: No. The SARS-CoV-2 infection, however, is associated with worsening diabetes symptoms. Additionally, persons with diabetes are at increased risk for a severe COVID-19 infection.
Further discussing the correlation between the two is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report in which coronavirus infection in people under the age of 18 has been linked to a greater risk of diabetes 30 days after the infection.
Q: Is the COVID-19 vaccine effective and safe for people with diabetes?
A: COVID-19 vaccinations are safe for people with prediabetes, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. These vaccines were regulated and licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under an emergency use approval.
Consequently, they must undergo lengthy testing procedures to ensure safety and efficacy before being authorized for rollout.
Q: Is there a chance insulin or other medications of people with diabetes may mix in a hazardous way with the COVID-19 vaccine?
A: Because there is no known connection between virus immunization and diabetic drugs, you should keep taking your medications as prescribed.
However, some diabetic people may suffer elevated blood sugars for one to seven days or longer after receiving the vaccine. As such, keep a careful eye on your blood sugar levels afterward and contact your healthcare team for any temporary dosage modifications.
7 Ways to Manage Your Diabetes Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic4
Because diabetes is a common comorbidity, it is critical to visit a doctor, take medicines as prescribed, monitor your glucose, and get vaccinated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some diabetes management tips to keep your health in check amid this ongoing health crisis.
Maintain a well-balanced diet
Make it a point to eat consciously. You can incorporate healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and proteins into your diet. This requires the consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat.
Consult with a nutritionist to plan your meals better. You can start listing down ingredients you must include and remove from your diet. When grocery shopping, make it a habit to read the nutrition label before purchasing items.
Likewise, if you are diabetic or at-risk of being one, steer clear of high-calorie, high-sugar, and high-carbohydrate meals. Say goodbye to junk and processed foods, including those with extreme amounts of additives, spice, and grease.
Being physically active is critical for improved diabetes management and control. Skipping it should never be an option, especially in these difficult times. Ensure to do at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week (20-25 minutes daily) to maintain excellent metabolic health and immunity.
Yoga, walking, and dancing make superb options, especially if you want to start light and easy. For more intermediate workouts, try doing a series of planks, push-ups, and pull-ups. You can also consult your physician on other drills or sessions you may perform at home.
Keep your blood sugar in check
Diabetes patients should have a glucometer everywhere they go to check their blood sugar levels before and after meals. Uncontrolled glucose in the blood is regarded as very dangerous since it may lead to a variety of severe health problems. In case your blood sugar gets out of control or you experience any other symptoms, contact your physician and seek virtual medical consultation to avoid COVID-19 exposure.
Take your medication consistently
Take your anti-diabetic drugs and other maintenance medications consistently and regularly. Never stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor first. Similarly, avoid self-medicating as it may only do more harm than good. Reach out to your physician for any prescription if you are ever feeling unwell.
Always have enough supplies on hand
Due to today’s international supply chain disruptions, pharmacies may experience a lack of certain medications. Correspondingly, other stores may only be open for limited hours in a day.
With this, you must stock up on enough antidiabetics and other prescribed medications to minimize delays in your prescription refills. Otherwise, you can call emergency services for assistance if you need medicines immediately.
Follow safety protocols
One method to avoid being ill is to prevent it from happening in the first place. With the pandemic still not over, limiting public meetings, using an N-95 mask with a good fit or a double mask, keeping a six-foot social distance, and observing proper sanitation are all highly recommended.
Additionally, remember to disinfect commonly touched surfaces in your home regularly. Everything that comes from outside should be treated with utmost caution as well. Simple things such as not sharing cutlery or other personal belongings even with those you live with can go a long way.
While eating healthy, exercising regularly, and taking preventive measures are vital for immunity, there is no substitute for being vaccinated in this time of coronavirus.
To date, a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine has been given to almost 4.93 billion individuals worldwide or around 64.2% of the global population. In the Philippines, 62.2 million Filipinos have been vaccinated against the virus. With such a huge tally, the country has seen a two-week negative growth rate of 40%, finally putting the nation at a low-risk status.
From a global perspective, other countries are gradually recovering from the pandemic and emerging stronger than ever before. Arguably, vaccines are thought to be the most efficient method to achieve immunity from COVID-19. So, if you are eligible for a shot, do not miss your chance and ensure that you receive both vaccine dosages as well as the booster dose.
Play it Safe this Pandemic
As we continue to fight the global health crisis and work to get back to normal, it is more important to take care of ourselves now than ever. In managing your diabetes, it is a must stick to a healthy routine, follow safety protocols, and get vaccinated to gain additional protection against the COVID-19 virus.
Awareness is the first step to keeping your body safe, especially when comorbidities can worsen your condition. It is essential to get checked as early as possible to make the necessary lifestyle changes to improve your overall health. Learn your Framingham score and find out your risk for coronary disease by taking the assessment test today!
Disclaimer: The information provided is for information purposes only and is not meant to be substituted for the advice given by a registered medical practitioner. This should not be used for diagnosing health problems or for self-medication. Boehringer Ingelheim shall not be responsible for any damages or losses arising out of access to or use of information provided.