Diabetes and coronavirus: the latest advice for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics – and if diabetes counts as ‘high risk’
While most cases of coronavirus are mild, there are certain underlying conditions which make people more likely to catch it or suffer a more severe infection.
Here’s what you need to know about the conditions that put you at risk from contracting Covid-19 – and how to avoid infection.
Are people with diabetes more susceptible to coronavirus?
As coronavirus is a novel (or new) virus, nobody has built up immunity to it – meaning anyone can become infected, regardless of age, gender or any other factors.
However, evidence suggests that those with weakened immune systems, as with any virus, are more susceptible to becoming infected by coronavirus.
This includes those undergoing cancer treatment, people being treated for autoimmune diseases like lupus, Multiple Sclerosis or inflammatory bowel diseases, those with HIV and those having an organ or bone-marrow transplant.
A report from the World Heath Organisation, which studied cases in China, said that the underlying conditions which put people at the highest risk of severe disease are:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure),
- Cardiovascular disease,
- Chronic respiratory disease (such as lung disease or asthma)
“Coronaviruses can cause more severe symptoms and complications in people with diabetes, as well as in older people,” say Diabetes.org.
“Those with other long term conditions such as cancer or chronic lung disease. The risk of death from coronavirus is quite low, and the majority of people with coronavirus will have a comparatively mild illness.
“It is important that people with diabetes follow the sick day rules should they become ill from any illness. If you routinely check your blood sugar at home, you’ll probably need to do it more often – at least every four hours, including during the night.
“If your blood sugar is persistently high or low, or if you have symptoms of a hyper contact your GP practice or Diabetes team by phone who will help you if you have any queries or if you are unsure about what to do regarding your diabetes.”
What precautions should I take?
Those at high risk of contracting coronavirus and/or contracting a more severe form of the disease should follow precautions to lower their risk of catching it.
This includes washing your hands regularly and thoroughly, avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth and avoiding contact with anyone who is unwell.
As of Monday 16 March the government advised that everyone should be observing social distancing – avoiding unnecessary travel and working from home where possible.
Anyone with a cough or cold symptoms now needs to self-isolate with their entire household for 14 days.