Contributed by – Healthians team
As the Coronavirus epidemic rages on and research continues on it, a fact that has emerged clearly is that while it can affect anyone, some people are more prone to having a worse reaction than others. The reason why some people are experiencing only mild symptoms, while some are succumbing to it can simply be attributed to immunity. Your immune system’s response determines how your body gets through the COVID-19.
Keeping this in mind people with chronic illnesses like hypertension, coronary diseases, and diabetes are deemed to be especially at risk for COVID-19. While people with chronic illnesses are not more prone to contracting the infection, they are susceptible to worse outcomes.
So to help you understand the risks and how to deal with them we answer some of the most pertinent questions. Also, in case you suspect that you have symptoms or want to know more about it then you should speak to an expert
Why are diabetic people more at risk?
Your immune system pretty much determines how healthy your body is. If you suffer from diabetes then your body is in a compromised state because constant spikes in blood sugar levels affect the immune system and do not allow the body to absorb nutrients it needs to build a robust defense. High blood-sugar levels can also cause inflammation which worsens in case of infections like the COVID-19 leading to severe complications. Diabetes also impacts your kidney negatively, an organ that is at risk from the Coronavirus as well.
What is diabetic Ketoacidosis? Should I be worried about it?
Your body produces ketones when it burns fat instead of glucose for energy, an extremely high level of ketones can lead to Diabetic Ketoacidosis. Diabetic Ketoacidosis or DKA is a serious condition and needs immediate medical help.
Some people who contract COVID-19 might suffer from a body wide response called sepsis. To treat this condition there is a need to manage your body’s fluid and electrolyte levels. DKA makes it a challenge to do so because it makes you lose electrolytes. If you register high blood sugar levels more than twice in a row then it is best to consult a doctor and check for ketones to avoid DKA.
What special precautions should I follow as a diabetic?
If you suffer from diabetes then you already know that tracking your blood sugar levels regularly is essential. People with properly managed diabetes have a significantly lesser risk for severe COVID-19. As an added precaution, if possible avoid going out completely; ask a family member or a neighbour to pick up essentials for you when they make a grocery run. Do not touch groceries and other outside items immediately or directly. Disinfect all of them; you can watch this video to learn how to disinfect groceries and this one to learn how to disinfect your home. Stock up on your medications and be regular with them to avoid any unnecessary complications.
What sort of emergency symptoms or signs should I look out for?
If you develop any of the following emergency signs get medical attention immediately.
- Difficulty breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- Confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
What should I do if someone in my home has been diagnosed with COVID-19?
If someone in your home has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is allowed to self-quarantine at home, then it is essential for you to keep yourself safe as you are a “high risk” individual. Try and ensure that the person gets their own room, and keep the door closed. Have one family member take care of the individual. Make sure that they maintain hygiene at all times. If possible, shift to a family member’s or friend’s place for a few days till the patient recovers.
Are there any other things I should keep in mind?
Diabetes is a serious illness that can impact various parts of your body and cause severe complications even without the risk of contracting COVID-19. Try and get ahead of this condition to the extent possible. Diabetes is a lifestyle disease and to live with it you need to make some essential changes to your lifestyle. Eat healthy, exercise every day, and don’t take stress.
Following the safety precautions advised by the government and health experts is extremely important to keep yourself safe from the Coronavirus. For someone with diabetes dealing with a suppressed immunity, it is doubly essential to maintain strict precautions and hygiene at all times.