Covid And Diabetes

covid and diabetes

The present situation of Covid-19 is no less known to any of us. Daily we hear news of the deaths of people in our known circle. But the risk is even higher for people with diabetes. They suffer from deadly conditions such as diabetes, ketoacidosis, sepsis, etc. Therefore,  diabetes patients need to be even more cautious in terms of precautions, health, and hygiene. Every day I get so many questions from diabetes patients:

Is the covid vaccine safe for diabetes patients? Are diabetes patients at greater risk of death from covid? What are the precautions they can take…etc

So, this blog is to answer some of these questions and try to guide you through this difficult time. Let’s begin by answering the most asked question these days that is:

Are Diabetic Patients More Prone To Covid-19 Infections?

The answer is “NO”.  We all are at equal risks of getting infected by the virus. And It’s not that diabetic patients are any at higher risks compared to others. 

Still, why are you hearing all around that people with diabetes or with any other chronic disease should be extra cautious?  Why are all of us bothered by them? The answer to this lies in the next question.


Are Diabetes Patients At Greater Risk of Death From Covid?

Sadly, the answer is yes. When anyone with diabetes catches the infection, the complications in the body increase highly and abruptly.  It’s very tough for our bodies to tackle diabetes and coronavirus together.

Studies show that about 25% of patients that had to be admitted to hospital because of serious complications of coronavirus infection, had diabetes. And in unfortunate cases, few ended up losing their lives as well.

This invites the next question:

Why Covid Complications Are Higher In Diabetes Patients?

So there is not 1, but many reasons behind that

1. Weak immune system: in the case of diabetes, high blood sugar levels weaken your immune system over time. This is why, when compared to a normal person, a diabetes person is less strong to fight Covid 19.

2. Stress hormone release, when the virus affects you, certain stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released in your body. They are released not only as a result of an infection in the body but also because of extremely elevated anxiety in the patient. Both these hormones impact your insulin functioning and further increase your blood sugar levels.

3. Treating COVID with steroids raises blood sugar. Standard treatment for severe COVID-19 is a combination of the anti-viral drug remdesevir and high doses of a steroid drug such as dexamethasone, which tamps down inflammation. The steroid, however, raises insulin resistance and. This treatment, too, is a reason that COVID patients may suddenly develop severe symptoms of diabetes

4. Diabetic ketoacidosis, If you get COVID-19, the infection puts you at greater risk for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA happens when high levels of acids called ketones build up in your blood. It can be very serious and deadly.

Lastly, some diabetic people who catch the new coronavirus have a dangerous body-wide response to it, called sepsis. This is caused by higher blood sugar levels. It leads to increased inflammation or internal swelling throughout the body. To treat sepsis, doctors need to manage your body’s fluid and electrolyte levels. DKA causes you to lose electrolytes, which can make sepsis harder to control.


How Can Diabetics Protect Themselves From Coronavirus?

As we all know prevention is better than cure. If you are a diabetic, you need to focus on these 3 things:

1. Avoid the infection by taking standard covid precautions
2. Control or Reduce your blood sugar levels
3. Take the Covid 19 vaccine


Avoid Infection Taking Standard Covid And Diabetes Precautions

As told to you by n number of people through n number of mediums, everyone should avoid stepping out of your home as much as possible.

  • Even if you are going out, maintain 6 feet distance from others.
  • Viruses don’t like soap and water so wash your hands frequently.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth at any time.

Other people in your house should also be practising the same. It’s a collective effort by everyone in the family to keep the virus out..even if 1 of your dear ones is casual about it, the whole family will have to pay the toll.


Control Your Blood Sugar Levels

As said before, covid complications will be much lesser if we are able to control our blood sugar sugars. As far as hospitalization is concerned, which indicates a severe infection of covid, those people whose diabetes is not under control don’t do as well as people whose diabetes is well under control.

So we cannot overemphasize for all the people with diabetes at this very difficult time we find ourselves in, the importance of looking after your blood sugar levels, looking after your diabetes.  It’s a request you all to control your blood sugar by following few simple changes in your daily routine:

1. Diet

  • Cut off sugary and unhealthy contents from your food
  • Shift to a whole-grain and vegetable-rich diet.
  • Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water. Urination helps the kidney flush out the excess glucose.

    2. Exercise: Pick moderate-intensity exercises such as brisk walking and perform it for at least 30 minutes daily. Exercise improves the functioning of insulin.

    3. Lifestyle
  • Reduce the stress level in your life through ways such as meditation
  • Get sound sleep of at least 7-8 hours a day
  • Both stress and lack of sleep – release anti-insulin hormones. This shoots up your sugar levels. 
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking

Making these changes in your daily routine will not only help you in lowering your blood sugar level but also boost the overall immunity –  and thus, help you fight COVID.

You can also take help from our Diabetes Mantra app to fight diabetes and covid. There are several free resources such as the right food products, diet charts, doctors, exercise courses to keep diabetes at bay.


Get Covid Vaccine

Next, we come to the third and important measure to protect you from Covid – The covid 19 vaccine. Friends a lot of people call me to check if the covid 19 vaccine is safe for patients….so, let me answer this question first:

Yes, it is 100% safe.  There are no severe side effects of these vaccines, even for diabetic patients. There are two vaccines available namely, Covaxin and Covishield. Both are safe for diabetes patients.

In fact, diabetics should definitely take the Covid-19 vaccine as a non-diabetic person may escape ordinary influenza but for diabetics, even that could get severe.

There’s another misconception that diabetics can only get vaccinated when sugar levels are under control.
Well, the vaccine doesn’t increase your sugar levels.  So one doesn’t have to wait for their diabetes to come under control to take the vaccine.

covid vaccine


Must-Haves If Covid And Diabetes Patient

Let me tell you some of the most important things every diabetic patient must have with them amid this pandemic

  • The first is a glucose monitoring kit that includes a glucose testing strip, a monitor, lancets, and lancets devices, and a record book tracking your glucose level. Some devices have the features of keeping the records of previous tests.
  • And the second one is insulin supplies that include insulin, syringes, disposable or reusable insulin pens, needles, a sharp container for safely disposing of needles, glucose tablets or gels
  • You also need to have all your medicines in stock.
  • Lastly a pulse oximeter.

This was all about the precaution and measures that a diabetic can take….Now let’s come to a situation where you still catch the infection—-what should you do.


What If You Catch The Infection?

Firstly, How would you know that you have been infected?

The most common and mild symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Tiredness

The less common and moderate symptoms are:

  • Aches and pains
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhoea
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Headache
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • A rash on the skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes

Some severe symptoms are:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or pressure

    You should get your covid test done if you are experiencing these symptoms. Also, seek immediate medical help the moment you start facing any of the serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing or chest pain.


What To Do If You Have Covid And Are Experiencing Mild Symptoms

If you are experiencing mild symptoms and you are diabetic for that matter, you need to worry. But don’t panic. Panic and anxiety can elevate your sugar levels further, so keep your calm and headstrong.

1. The first thing you need to do is to keep monitoring your blood sugar levels regularly. That is, keep your glucometer close by and just keep measuring every 6-7 hours. As discussed earlier, Covid leads to an increase in blood sugar levels that could directly affect your kidney and heart.
Consult your doctor if blood sugar levels are getting higher.

2. Secondly, Use the pulse oximeter to regularly check for oxygen levels, and get admitted to a hospital if oxygen levels start falling…or you are facing difficulty in breathing.

3. Thirdly, take your medications regularly to keep sugar levels in control.

A lot of people ask:

Do They Need To Change Their Medicines In Accordance With The Infection?

Well, you don’t need to change any of your medicines till your blood sugar levels are in control. However, if your blood sugar levels are rising due to COVID-19, your doctor might need to advise stronger medications.

A Word From MantraCare

Do you want to get rid of diabetes? Join our online diabetes consultation program and reverse your Diabetes naturally through lifestyle changes such as a Personalized Diet plan, Exercise, dieticians, and health coaches.

Try MantraCare Wellness Program free

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.