Are you a diabetic? Take these precautions during this COVID-19 pandemic…

Are you a diabetic? Take these precautions during this COVID-19 pandemic…

Last Reviewed : 12/15/2020
Are you a diabetic? Take these precautions during this COVID-19 pandemic…

High blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus are the the common underlying chronic health conditions in people affected by COVID-19. In the United States, 34.2 million people or 10.5% of the total population have diabetes mellitus. Among people aged 65 years or older, diabetes is prevalent in 26.8%. Age above 65 years itself is already a major risk factor for COVID-19 illness. Associated diabetes mellitus, propels the risk much higher. People with diabetes were also at increased risk during SARS and MERS outbreaks in the past. Death rate in diabetics was higher when compared to general population.

There are several reasons why people with diabetes are more prone to severe COVID-19 illness. Diabetes diminishes body immunity, increases susceptibility to hyper-inflammation and decreases viral clearance. There are other molecular mechanisms that increases the risk of COVID-19 illness in diabetics.

Following measures should be taken to prevent COVID-19 in people with diabetes:

  1. Tight blood glucose control: Maintaining a good glucose control helps in reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection and its severity. Frequent monitoring of blood glucose levels may be required, especially when they are not well controlled. Tight glucose control also reduces superadded bacterial infection, on top of COVID-19.
  2. Avoid carbs: Watching diet for excess carbohydrates and calories is important. Foods with high glycemic index and high glycemic load should be avoided. White bread, pasta, rice, macaroni, puffed rice, russet potato, pumpkin, popcorn; fruits like watermelon, pineapple and mangoes should be avoided.
  3. Pneumonia and influenza vaccinations: Pneumonia vaccination may reduce the severity of bacterial pneumonia on top of viral infections. Getting influenza vaccination is also important to reduce the risk of coexisting influenza.
  4. Adequate nutrition: Diet plays a big role in building immunity. Good nutrition provides all required vitamins and minerals to boost immunity and reduce the risk of infection.
  5. Regular exercise: Exercise for 30 minutes daily for five days a week is recommended by most of the health authorities. Along with diet, exercise really helps to improve immunity. It is important to avoid public places like gyms and swimming pools.
  6. Adequate hydration: Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration
  7. Frequent monitoring of blood glucose: Any symptoms related to COVID-19 like fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, body aches should immediately prompt a call to your doctor. Blood glucose should be more frequently monitored when you notice any COVID-19 symptoms.
  8. Insulin management: When you are sick, insulin requirements change drastically. Based on blood sugars, your insulin may need to be adjusted.
  9. General preventive measures: other preventive measures should be taken as well. Regular handwashing or using a hand-sanitizer is important. Avoid touching face as it can spread infection. Wear face masks when you come outside. Avoid public places and maintain social distancing of 2 meters or six feet. Avoid shaking hands and unnecessary travel.



  1. Emami A et al. Prevalence of Underlying Diseases in Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Arch Acad Emerg Med. 2020 Mar 24;8(1):e35.
  2. Muniyappa R et al. COVID-19 Pandemic, Corona Viruses, and Diabetes Mellitus. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2020 Mar 31. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00124.2020.
  3. Gupta R et al. Clinical considerations for patients with diabetes in times of COVID-19 epidemic. Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2020 Mar 10;14(3):211-212. doi: 10.1016/j.dsx.2020.03.002.

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