Managing Diabetes and Surviving The COVID-19 Pandemic War
To many of my patients living with diabetes, COVID -19 in Australia seemed like a storm in a teacup. I remind them that the storm is still with us. Though we may have been spared the high infection and death rates seen in other countries engulfed by COVID we must remain vigilant on the journey, till we come “out the other side” and a vaccine is available.
A lot of attention has been directed towards people living with diabetes, suggesting that they are more susceptible to COVID-19. Let’s look at the facts.
People with diabetes are not necessarily more likely to get COVID-19 than the general population.
People with diabetes do face a higher chance of experiencing serious complications from COVID-19 than the general population if they actually became infected.
There are differences between Influenza and COVID-19
The risks are similar for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
It is well known that people with diabetes live with increased risk of complications – heart disease, kidney disease, eye diseases and a variety of other cardiovascular diseases (brain and legs). People with diabetes have higher rates of increased blood pressure and though the cholesterol profile may be similar to the general population, having diabetes with these other risk factors causes the higher rates of cardiovascular complications. Well controlled diabetes (controlling the blood glucose levels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels) reduces these risks significantly.
When it comes to COVID 19 or influenza, the problem people with diabetes face is primarily a problem of worse outcomes, not a greater chance of contracting the virus.
During this pandemic, COVID 19 has been raging war against human beings. People with diabetes have had much higher rates of serious complications and death than people without diabetes - and generally the more co-morbidities (heart disease, kidney disease, sleep apnoea) the higher their chance of getting serious complications from COVID-19.
As in every war, there will be battles. We will win some, lose some, and there will be casualties Even though our numbers in Australia may be low, we should not be complacent. The war continues, and sooner or later our international borders will open. What that will bring to Australia is unknown.
Over the coming weeks, I will share with you processes that have transformed the health of patients with diabetes, and significantly reduced their risks of COVID-19 adverse events. Simple rules that have changed how they lived with their diabetes during the isolation period, and now embrace venturing out to a new normality, living with their diabetes in the COVID-19 era. With confidence they know they can survive each battle to win the pandemic war.