Diabetes and COVID19 - Is it more dangerous for the people with Diabetes


There are over 450 million people with the disease and projected to be over 700 million by 2045, Diabetes is one of the most common diseases on the planet. The current pandemic has put more focus on the disease since it has been noted as one of the high-risk diseases with a tendency for more fatal outcomes.

We take a moment with Dr. Mohamed Wisham from the Department of Endocrinology of the lead government research facility of the Republic of Belarus; to understand more about how this disease affects the patients of COVID19.

Dr. Wisham explained that in simpler terms to understand that, "If we look into this close, Diabetes is a series of disorders. The most common form is what we call DM II (Type 2 Diabetes). In some countries, about 90 percent of the patients have this type. Then we have DM Type 1 which comprises a smaller percentage, and we also have a smaller percentage with Diabetes in Pregnancy (Gestational Diabetes - GDM), etc.

When we look into the effects of Diabetes and its relation to the immune system, we see that it affects the immune system's ability to respond and the body's overall efficiency.

"For Example: If a person has uncontrolled diabetes for long (Chronic) Diabetes and poorly controlled, in time they tend to alter & damage the structure of the blood vessels, which serves as the fundamental infrastructure for the transport of important nutrients to parts of the body. When these blood vessels get clogged or lose patency it can cause a myriad of issues. This is one reason why we tend to ask people to exercise more, and the pressure of blood flow will tend to reduce the flow restrictions over time."

"When the transportation system is impaired, it can lead to many serious issues. Such is evident in people with long term effects of this disease having non-healing infections leading diabetic foot etc. It is mostly caused due to restricted blood flow leading to infection and tissue death."

"If we look into infections and the body's ability to resolve them is compromised, it is easy to understand that if not careful it can lead to life-threatening conditions. Let us look into an infection in the foot, if not controlled can lead to a body-wide response from the immune system to control it. It is what we call "Sepsis", it's a life-threatening condition where the systemic response from the body itself starts damaging the other organs."

"Furthermore if we look into compilations of uncontrolled cases of Diabetes like "Diabetic Ketoacidosis" (DKA). These are severe states that the body goes when it gets dehydrated due to high glucose levels, and metabolic pathways are altered due to very high levels of glucose in the body. These conditions follow high risks for patients with COVID19, often with fatal outcomes"

Since these effects are widespread across the entire body, in time it affects the functioning of the vital organs like kidneys, heart, and so on. Imagine the complications we could face while managing a patient with poorly functioning kidneys.? These are small markers that show us how Diabetes can make it a high risk for anyone with COVID19.

In this COVID19 pandemic, the important thing as patients is to understand; the risks and get the appropriate medical attention, keep diabetes well controlled. The patients who have endured long illness of this disease who have developed kidney, heart & nerve system issues, should take more care and precautions and remain compliant with the daily regimens of medications advised by physicians.

This article was first published on June 26, 2020
Related topics : Diabetes