Suffering from type 1 or 2 diabetes is not associated with an increased risk of Covid-19. However, other pathologies related to the disease can lead to a severe form of the virus, and increase the rate of hospitalization and resuscitation. Caution is advised.
Despite a gradual deconfinement announced by the French government from 11 May 2020, it is essential that people suffering from chronic diseases, such as diabetes, pay special attention to their health. What are the essential gestures and good habits to keep? Jean-François Thébaut, Vice-President of the French Diabetes Federation, answers these questions:
Treatment and blood glucose
People with diabetes should continue their treatment, says Medicare, whether it is tablets or insulin. No new medication should be taken without medical advice. If you’re worried about running out of products, pharmacists can help you assess your needs beforehand.
Jean-François Thébaut explains: “Learning to use devices such as strip or continuous glucose meters must have been
done with the diabetologist or the attending physician. The protocol is thus ensured according to the type of diabetes. “In case of difficulty in controlling blood sugar or ketonuria, do not hesitate to ask for help from health professionals.
Continue his medical follow-up
Care related to diabetes or its complications is provided, both during and after confinement. Consultations can be arranged remotely, by video or telephone, at home, in the office or in a health care facility. Be sure to check with your doctor, however, to find out which treatments or tests are urgent and which can wait.
“People with diabetes who are not on insulin take regular blood tests to monitor their diabetes control. For them, certain tests can be postponed unless there are specific warning signs,” says Jean-François Thébaut. Care of wounds on the fingers or feet must be maintained.
Watch for unusual symptoms
During this exceptional pandemic period, you may experience worrying symptoms without knowing how to react. If you notice any signs that indicate a decompensation of diabetes, such as thirst, frequent urination, and weight loss, contact your doctor. The specialist reminds you that “in children, this sign often translates into bed-wetting. This is telling.”
On the other hand, if you recognize the symptoms of coronavirus, i.e., fever, cough, loss of smell or taste, fatigue, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, malaise, etc., call your doctor immediately.
Finally, contact the emergency services by dialling 15 or 114 if you are deaf or hard of hearing, choking, chest pain, syncope, paralysis of a limb, or problems with vision or speech. Indicate that you do not have a fever.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
It’s not always easy to maintain good eating and exercise habits when you’re stuck at home, but it’s especially important for people with diabetes.
“Adjust your diet and exercise at home. Confinement leads to changes that can destabilize diabetes. To avoid it, you must therefore monitor your blood sugar, weight, diet, and exercise using the many sites and applications available,” advises Jean-François Thébaut.
Are diabetics more vulnerable to Covid-19?
Type 1 or 2 diabetes is not considered immunosuppression. However, this disease does increase the risk of complications or severe forms of Covid-19. “Diabetics are no more likely to get coronavirus, but being elderly, male, and suffering from obesity, complications or other conditions associated with diabetes, will increase the risk of severe forms of Covid 19 that may require resuscitation and intubation.”