Are people with diabetes more severely affected by COVID-19?

Are people with diabetes more severely affected by COVID-19?

December 3, 2020 23 By Ruchi Verma

People with diabetes have remained extra cautious by following the social distancing norms, and other precautionary measures to keep themselves safe from COVID-19. Although they know that maintaining good blood sugar levels and staying active is their best defense, the rising concerns around the morbidity of people affected by the virus have alarmed those with diabetes.

According to a study conducted by Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology mining 61 million COVID-19 patient records in the UK, they found it that over 30% of COVID-19-related deaths occurred in people with diabetes.

Diabetes and COVID-19 Infection

COVID-19 can cause severe illness. Apart from the usual symptoms like coughing, fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, etc it can also bring irregulation of other diseases. People with co-morbidities like diabetes, cardiovascular problems, neurological disorders, high blood pressure, etc stand a risk of being severely affected by the virus as the infection is known to cause disruptions in body functioning. With blood oxygen levels dropped, and the immune system affected, oneโ€™s body may find it tough to fight the virus.

What are the statistics saying?

Many studies have opined that people with diabetes have a 50% higher risk of a fatal outcome than others. In these type 1 diabetes has a greater risk as compared to type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. According to a study of 173 patients with severe disease, about 16.2% had diabetes. There seems to be a two-fold increase in the number of patients in intensive care who have diabetes.


What complications could occur?

Viral infections like COVID-19 can cause serious implications for type 1 and type 2 diabetes types. As a stress response to the infection, people with diabetes are likely to experience a rise in glucose levels resulting in high blood sugar levels. Sudden spikes and high blood sugar levels can be dangerous for individuals. As a result, one may require an extra insulin dose for diabetes treatment.

While COVID-19 is a big health concern for people of all ages, gender, and health concerns โ€“ those with co-morbidities, especially diabetes, are likely to suffer more due to the infection affecting their immune system more rapidly than others. The only measure to fight through the concern as of now remains in following the safety protocols and maintaining hygiene and safety around.

People with diabetes can follow simple measures to stay healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak. Taking proper care of diet, getting regular exercise even if you are at home, regularly monitoring your blood glucose levels as well as taking your medication on time is enough to keep your diabetes well managed. Managing your diabetes well can reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications.

Preparation is the key

The key to getting early and proper medical attention is some preparation from your side if you have diabetes:

1. Keep the phone numbers of your doctor and your nearest pharmacy handy. Other family members should also be aware of these.
2. List of your current medications and doses should also be well documented and shared with your family.
3. Have enough stock of your oral medications or insulin at home in case you cannot step out.
4. Keep glucose test strips in stock to monitor your blood glucose in case of highs and lows.
5. Know which pharmacies have a home delivery option.
6. Always keep simple carbs handy in case you are susceptible to low blood glucose levels.

Remember, staying on top of your condition is primarily in your hands.

Diet, exercise, regular monitoring, and adherence to medication are important factors in diabetes management. Empower yourself to live better with diabetes and take the pledge today to be #MoreThanMyDiabetes.

Also Read: How changes in nutrition can help in maintaining blood sugar levels.


The views expressed in the blog content are independent and unbiased views of solely the blogger. This is a part of the public awareness initiative supported by Sanofi India. Sanofi India bears no responsibility for the content of the blog. One should consult their healthcare provider for any health-related information.

Study References

  2. Guan WJ, Ni ZY, Hu Y, et al. Clinical characteristics of coronavirus disease 2019 in China. N Engl J Med. 2020; DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2002032.

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