We’ve all heard by now that people with diabetes are at greater risk of serious complications from the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Research into the connection and how to best treat patients with diabetes and COVID-19 is underway, and we will be sharing the studies with you as they become available. But there are some basic reasons people with diabetes may be at higher risk. Diabetes is immunosuppressive and diabetes patients can be at increased risk from many infectious diseases. Many people with diabetes have complications like heart disease that can make it more difficult to recover from illness. The risk for type 2 diabetes increases with age, and COVID-19 is more dangerous to people over 60.
Aside from taking standard precautions to minimize exposure to the virus, the best thing your patients can do to manage their risk of COVID-19 is to continue to practice good diabetes management. Poorly controlled blood glucose contributes to immunosuppression and can increase risk. Patients should ensure they keep up their supply of needed medications and insulin; at this time when many people are experiencing financial hardship (especially people with diabetes) this may be a challenge for some of your patients. The ADA has a site that provides contact information for Lilly Diabetes Solution Center, Novo Nordisk NovoCare®, and Sanofi Patient Assistance Program, as well as other guidance and advice for patients who may be struggling to afford insulin, at https://insulinhelp.org/
Exercise is important for both physical and mental health; our exercise expert, Dr. Sheri Colberg, shares many exercises that can be done at home to help maintain core strength and flexibility, and help people cope with stress; stay tuned for another feature from her on April 11.
Research into many drugs that may have some potential for treating COVID-19, including metformin, is underway. As yet, it is preliminary and we all know there are no miracle cures, but there will be new insight into how this virus works and what treatments are effective. There is a great deal of misinformation and rumor circulating online. DIC will always strive to be among your trusted sources for factual information in these challenging times.
–Steve and Dave