Diabetes and Covid
With all that is happening with protocols on dealing with COVID-19, it is important to understand why diabetes is a significant risk factor and what can be done to help mitigate that risk if you have diabetes
1 - Test blood sugars often, potentially even more frequently than you may normally do, especially if you are only checking blood sugars daily. This is important for two reasons:
-You will be able to adjust food/medications easier if you know your blood sugars at more key points throughout the day. Keeping blood sugars as close “normal” as possible will help keep your immune system stronger and potentially allow you the ability to fight off infections more efficiently.(1)
—A sudden rise in blood sugars that cannot be explained over a period of time can be the first sign of an illness. It may bot necessarily be a COVID-19 infection, so no need to panic; but is important to look at trends in blood sugars so you can relay the information to your health care provider.
—If you need extra supplies during this time such as testing strips, many insurance companies have relaxed restrictions to enable you to get ahead and maintain your medication supply without interruption. Check with your pharmacist or insurance company for more details.
2 - Maintain a healthy diet. If you are stressed, you may actually lose your appetite or be inclined to eat more. Try to make healthy choices as much as possible. This premium fuel for your body can help with immunity and strength in general. In addition, healthy food choices will add necessary vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which all help your natural hormones function more efficiently. (2)
3 - Stay hydrated. People with diabetes are more prone to dehydration. Clear fluids such as water or unsweetened iced tea work well for maximum hydration. This is especially important if you develop a fever.
4 - Check for ketones. If you are ill for any reason and have diabetes, ketones can start to build up, especially as blood sugars go up. There are strips available at most pharmacies that are a simple urine test that can check to see if ketones are present. If you have high ketones, it is important to call your health care provider for further instructions/guidance. This may lead them to make changes in your medications or provide other recommendations.
5 - Try to get outdoors and exercise whenever possible. This is an excellent way to reduce stress and stay physically fit, as stress by itself, can also cause blood sugars to rise.
6 - Check with your doctor or pharmacist when taking over the counter medications. If you do get the sniffles or develop a cough, make sure any medications you choose for these symptoms are approved by your own health care team. Some medications can cause blood sugars to rise-such as decongestants or cough medicine with added sugars. Additionally, some medications can actually interfere with other prescriptions medicine you may be taking. This is even true of certain supplements and vitamins.
Keep in mind that if your diabetes is well controlled, it seems that your risk of developing COVID-19 is no more than that for the general population as a whole. As is always the case, if you do get any illness, your ability to fight off that illness is better with blood sugars that are “in range” (this varies from patient to patent as far as what your blood sugars should be)-as determined by your health care team. Another reason that diabetes is mentioned so often as a risk factor is that people with diabetes often have other underlying health issues such as heart disease, hypertension, and kidney disease as well. These conditions can also make it more difficult to recover from illness. (3)
The most important advice: Maintain proper social distancing, wear your face mask, wash your hands, and wear gloves where you need to.
We will get through this together!!
Don’t forget that at TempraMed we are here to protect you and your insulin and to keep you safe.
1.Stegenga, M. E., Van der Crabben, S. N., Blumer, R. M. E., Levi, M., Meijers, J. C. M. Serlie, M. J., … Van der Poll, T. (2008). Hyperglycemia enhances coagulation and reduces neutrophil degranulation, whereas hyperinsulinemia inhibits fibrinolysis during human endotoxemia. Blood, 112, 82-89. https://doi.org/10.1182/blood-2007-11-121723
2.Malter M, Schriever G, Eilber U. Natural killer cells, vitamins, and other blood components of vegetarian and omnivorous men. Nutr Cancer. 1989;12:271-278; Carddock JC, Neale EP, People GE, Probst YC. Vegetarian-based dietary patterns and their relation with inflammatory and immune biomarkers: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Adv Nutr. 2019;10:433-451.