Coronavirus and Diabetes: What you need to know

Image of Coronavirus and Diabetes

According to the CDC, people with underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, are at higher risk for severe illness from coronavirus. Diabetes-related health conditions can make it harder to recover from COVID-19. Staying healthy during this pandemic is key to your health. Follow your doctor’s treatment plan. Eat healthily. Exercise at home. Maintain social distancing. Learn more about coronavirus and diabetes and how you can continue with treatment through these challenging times.

Understanding Diabetes

What is diabetes? Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high blood sugar. Type I diabetes occurs when the body does not make insulin. It is also referred to as juvenile diabetes. Type II diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. Type 2 occurs when the body does not properly use the insulin in the body. The CDC reports that about 12.2% of American adults, aged 18 or older, have diabetes. It’s also estimated that about 7 million Americans have diabetes and don’t realize it or report that they have it.

How does someone become resistant to insulin? It’s unknown exactly why or how a person becomes resistant to insulin (Type I diabetes), though genetics and race can play a part. You are more likely to develop diabetes if your parent or a sibling also has it. Hispanics, Asian-Americans, and American Indians have higher rates of diabetes than Caucasians.

How does one become at-risk for adult-onset diabetes? Adult-onset diabetes (Type II diabetes), is commonly caused by obesity. If you are overweight or don’t exercise, you are at a higher risk of developing the condition. There is no cure for Type II diabetes, but the condition can be managed with exercise, healthy eating, and medications.

Symptoms of adult-onset diabetes

Type II diabetes develops over time. Many people don’t realize the signs that their body has high blood sugar. The early symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling hungry all the time
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts and wounds that heal slow
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue

If you notice these symptoms, you should see your healthcare provider immediately for a medical diagnosis. Type II diabetes leads to many health-related conditions because of excess sugar in the blood, including:

  • Stroke,
  • Heart disease,
  • Kidney damage, and
  • Nerve damage – causing foot-related conditions.

Additionally, people with diabetes are more susceptible to:

  • Eye damage,
  • Skin conditions, and
  • Sleep apnea.

These possible health conditions are just the start of more complicated and complex health issues. Excessive blood sugar can damage your organs.

Treating diabetes during the coronavirus pandemic

Because diabetes increases the risk of suffering from COVID-19 side effects and symptoms, it’s essential to be prepared and take precautions. The CDC recommends that people with diabetes continue taking their medicine as usual. Test and record blood sugar levels as your doctor has prescribed. It’s also a good idea to have a two-week supply of your diabetes medications.

The American Diabetes Association recommends:

  • Only going out for groceries or medication
  • Cleaning your hands often with soap and water or a hand sanitizer that contains 60% alcohol
  • Avoiding surfaces in public that get touched
  • Cleaning your home and disinfecting surfaces that are frequently touched
  • Avoiding non-essential travel

At-home treatment plans, exercises, and programs your physician has instructed you to follow should continue. If you’re noticing new side effects, including foot pain, leg pain, or ulceration, contact your primary care physician and Arizona Foot Doctors right away. We’ll work together via telehealth appointment or during an in-office visit to reduce your pain and help create a treatment plan.

Man Washing Hands to Protect from Coronavirus and Diabetes Concerns

If you get sick during the pandemic

Diabetes doesn’t make a person more susceptible to coronavirus—instead, patients who contract COVID-19 and have diabetes are at risk of suffering from severe side effects and serious complications. Whether you get sick from coronavirus or the flu, being ill while having diabetes can make managing your blood sugar levels challenging. Pay attention to potential symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Call your doctor if you develop signs and follow instructions for treatment. If you experience difficulty breathing, bluish lips, pressure in your chest, or confusion, you should get medical attention immediately.

Keep up with diabetic management and treatment during the pandemic

As people are social distancing, it can be more challenging to manage swollen feet and other health conditions related to diabetes. Keep up with your treatment plans for diabetic foot problems, exercise, and stick to medication regimens to manage your blood sugar and other health concerns. Inspect your feet daily for sores and bruises. Wear thick, soft socks inside your home to prevent injuries to your feet. Go outside to exercise every day, but never go barefoot. Practice social distancing to reduce your risk of coronavirus.

If you’re experiencing new symptoms related to your feet, legs, or toes, contact Arizona Foot Doctors to schedule a telehealth appointment. We’re dedicated to helping you stay healthy during this difficult time and providing accurate and actionable coronavirus and diabetes information.