Diabetes and Covid-19: What You Should Know

December 12, 2020

Type 2 Diabetes & COVID-19: Plan Now and Be Ready in Case You Get Sick

If you have diabetes type 2, the old saying an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is one to heed now more than ever. People with type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of getting a more severe case of COVID-19 than those who don’t. Health experts also suspect type 1 and gestational diabetes might also elevate risk for severity.

More research is needed to pinpoint precisely what causes people with diabetes to have severe reactions, but the fault may lie with the immune system. Inflammation – associated with both diabetes and viral infections – may also play a role.

Right now, however, there’s plenty you can do to protect yourself and prepare, so you’re in the best possible position in case you do get sick.

Everyday wellness matters

The healthier you are, the better prepared your body will be to defend itself from the virus, so staying on top of your health is critical. You probably know the drill: Manage your blood sugar carefully, eat properly, stay active, and manage stress and anxiety to bolster your mental health.

This year, getting a flu shot is more important than ever. It will help keep you (and others around you) less likely to get sick from the flu — and allow more health care workers to focus on treatment and prevention of COVID-19 . In case you need a refresher, you’ll find the complete CDC guidelines for COVID-19 prevention here.

Plan for the possibility of getting COVID-19

1 Gather key information.

  • Get the phone numbers of your doctors and health care team, pharmacy, and insurance provider together. Keep the list where it’s easy to find and refer to.
  • Do the same for all of your medications, noting dosage. Include supplements and vitamins.

2 Get advice from your doctor or health care provider.

Get your notebook ready and ask the following questions so you know what to do if you do get sick:

  • How often should I check my blood sugar?
  • When should I check for ketones?
  • What should prompt me to call you? Changes in ketones or food intake? Adjustments in medication?
  • What medications should I take for cold, flu, virus, or infection?
  • Should I change my diabetes medication?

3 Stock up.

Medications and medical supplies:

  • A 30-day supply of insulin
  • Prescription medications
  • Medications your health care team recommended to have on hand for colds, flu, etc.
  • Vitamins or supplements
  • Glucagon and ketone strips

Groceries and everyday items:

Have enough for 14 days, in case you need to quarantine, including:

  • Plenty of simple carbs, such as soda, honey, jam, instant gelatin, popsicles, unsweetened applesauce, sports drinks, and juice.
  • Rubbing alcohol, soap, and hand sanitizer.

For more information on COVID-19 and diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association website, including their FAQ page.

Got a Minute? Know Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

Knowing your risk matters. More than 34 million Americans have diabetes – and more than 88 million more have prediabetes, a condition that precedes type 2 diabetes.

“Major clinical trials have shown that treating prediabetes can delay or prevent the onset of diabetes,” reports the American Diabetes Association Science Team. “That treatment is something that’s good for everyone: healthy eating and increased physical activity.” 

Determine your risk in just 60 seconds, with this online risk test from the American Diabetes Association.