How Diabetes Can Increase the Risk of Severe COVID-19

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Update Date 30/06/2020 . 4 mins read
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A new study found that COVID-19 might even be deadlier to diabetics than previously thought. This is because new research has found a connection between diabetes and COVID-19 complications, which makes diabetics 12 times more likely to die from COVID-19.

But what exactly causes this higher risk, and what can diabetics do in order to prevent this from happening?

Diabetes greatly increases the risk of severe symptoms from COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States released a report about the increased risk that diabetics have when it comes to COVID-19. Their findings were based on 1.7 million cases of COVID-19 from January 22 and May 30.

  • They discovered that among the patients who were hospitalized for severe symptoms, 32% were diabetics.
  • Additionally, 30% had cardiovascular problems, and 18% had lung problems.
  • Their findings support what doctors have been suspecting all along — that diabetics have a high risk of developing more severe symptoms from COVID-19.

This means that diabetics need to be extra careful in order to avoid getting infected with COVID-19.

This is due to the fact that even for diabetics who have managed their condition, there is still the possibility that they can suffer the more serious symptoms of the disease.

The CDC also found that men had a better chance of surviving the severe symptoms of COVID-19. But it is not clear why this is the case.

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What are possible diabetes and COVID-19 complications?

Aside from these findings, a separate study found that COVID-19 can potentially make the symptoms of diabetes worse.

The researchers found that COVID-19 can cause severe metabolic complications of diabetes which include diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolarity.

Both of these are very severe complications of diabetes and require high doses of insulin in order to be treated.

The researchers believe that the virus could bind to an enzyme known as angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors.

This specific enzyme can be found in the lungs, arteries, heart, kidneys, and intestines. Once it binds to this enzyme, this could affect the way the body metabolizes glucose.

And in the case of diabetics, this can mean that they can suffer not just the severe symptoms of COVID-19, but also severe symptoms of diabetes.

COVID-19 can possibly trigger diabetes

Along with these findings, the researchers found that there is some evidence that shows COVID-19 can trigger diabetes in otherwise healthy patients.

The relationship between viruses and diabetes is nothing new. There is some evidence that rubella could trigger diabetes in some patients.

But in the case of COVID-19, this is a new discovery. Researchers believe that it is also connected to how the coronavirus affects metabolism through the ACE2 receptors.

However, it is still unclear whether or not the diabetes goes away once a patient gets better, or if it remains.

It is also not known if the diabetes triggered in healthy patients is type 1, type 2, or even a new form of diabetes.

But despite the lack of information, it is important for healthcare professionals to be wary of these possible complications when caring for COVID-19 patients.

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Stay home, stay safe

The best way to deal with COVID-19 would be to avoid it completely.

At the moment, possible vaccines for COVID-19 are still in development, and will not see trials until next year. This means that the only option we have would be to avoid getting infected in the first place.

Here are some important tips when it comes to COVID-19 safety.

  • As much as possible, try to stay at home. Staying at home lowers your interaction with other people, which also lowers the risk that you can get infected. If you have the option to work from home, it would be a good idea to take advantage of that.
  • If you need to go out in order to buy groceries and other essentials, be sure to practice the basic safety tips. This includes social distancing, or avoiding being in close proximity with people, as well as wearing a mask in public. You might not be able to eradicate your risk of getting infected, but these tips should help lower your risk of infection.
  • Try to avoid going to malls or public places. Even if some establishments have already opened, it would be a good idea to avoid these places for now. This is because you don’t have any idea if the people around you have coronavirus or not. It is an unnecessary risk, and it’s better to stay at home for now.
  • Be sure to wash your hands often. Washing your hands helps kill off any virus particles on your hands. Be sure to wash your hands before eating, and especially if you have gone outside or touched elevator buttons, railings, door handles etc.
  • Avoid public transportation for now. If possible, it would be better if you can bike to a nearby store when you are buying essentials. Public transportation exposes you to a lot of people, and increases your risk of developing COVID-19.
  • If you or a loved one has any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, be sure to isolate. This helps lower the risk that the virus will spread to other people, especially if you are living with friends or family.

These tips should help keep you safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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