It’s been almost more than a year since the coronavirus came into existence, and all of us are now aware that people with all such health complications that weaken the immune system increase the risk of COVID-19 infection. 

Accepting this fact was not that difficult because we understood the logic behind it that such health complications weaken the immune system and increase the risk of COVID-19 infection.

But it might be difficult to accept that COVID-19 can trigger diabetes in some people, although the exact reason remains unknown. Therefore, everyone needs to be careful in order to avoid coronavirus causing COVID-19, especially people with type-1 or type-2 diabetes.

If your diabetes isn’t under control, the risk of catching the virus gets higher than anyone else, and in some cases, you may develop worse complications if you get sick. In order to reduce the chance of getting the infection:-

  • Keep yourself distance from other people
  • Use good hygiene
  • Keep your blood sugar level under control

Diabetes And COVID-19

Earlier studies suggest that almost 25% of the hospitalized people due to severe COVID-19 infection already had diabetes. However, people with diabetes are more likely to have severe health complications and may die due to the infection. The reason behind this is the high blood sugar level that weakens the immune system making it less able to fight the infection.

This is not just for the diabetes patients, all such people who have severe health complications that weakens the immune system like heart complications or lung complications are at an increased risk of getting coronavirus infection.

Another severity that came up with the coronavirus infection; the COVID-19 infection, may put you at a greater risk for diabetes complications, such as diabetic ketoacidosis(DKA). 

Diabetic ketoacidosis(DKA) occurs when a high level of acids known as ketones starts to build up in your blood, causing serious complications. Some cases of coronavirus cause dangerous body-wide responses known as sepsis. In order to treat this sepsis, doctors need to manage the body’s fluid and electrolyte levels.With the increase in infection, the body’s fluid and electrolyte level gets imbalanced and can cause diabetic ketoacidosis(DKA). This will consequently cause the body to lose electrolyte, which can make sepsis difficult to control.

Additionally, scientists around the world found an uptick in new diabetes cases last year. This particularly showed that some COVID-19 patients with no history of diabetes were suddenly found to have the condition, says Scientific American report. This became a trend among medical science and made many researchers at King’s College London in England and Monash University in Australia submit reports about patients with a confirmed history of coronavirus and newly developed diabetes.

If you think such cases may be very less in number, you are wrong; more than 350 clinicians have reported to the registry for developing diabetes, says The Guardian. The people have reported both the type of diabetes; type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

In general, the acute viral infection causes severe spark inflammation in the body producing stress-related hormones, such as cortisol, to tamp down that inflammation. These stress-related hormones cause blood sugar levels to spike, and that rise may or may not subside after the infection clears.

Most importantly, COVID-19 patients are often treated with steroid medications, such as dexamethasone that can drive up blood sugar level. Therefore, there is a possibility that these steroid medications may also contribute to the onset of diabetes in COVID-19 patients, says CTV News. 

In some cases, these diabetic complications get settled with the completion of the COVID-19 treatment, but the condition becomes chronic in some cases, says Diabetes.co.uk.

Why Is This Happening?

The researchers have not yet concluded, but it is being said that SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, directly affects the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Additionally, the virus may damage these cells indirectly by infecting other parts of the pancreas or the blood vessels responsible for supplying oxygen and nutrients to the organs.

Although another study suggests, the coronavirus affects other parts of the body and contributes to the development of diabetes. Such body parts include the intestines and somehow undermines the body’s ability to break down glucose.

Other types of coronaviruses, such as certain enteroviruses causing various complications like hand, foot, and mouth disease, have also been linked to diabetes in the past, says The Guardian.

What Can Diabetics Do For Now?

People with diabetes need to avoid getting sick and prefer to stay at home as much as possible. As per the Americans With Disabilities Act, people with diabetes have the right to “reasonable accommodations at work.” This means the right to work from home or take sick leave when needed.

Until the vaccine is available, try to stay at home, and in case you need to move out, try to maintain 6 feet distance from others. Do not forget to wear a mask and wash your hands frequently with soap and water or sanitizer.

Always wash your hands before giving yourself a finger stick or insulin shot. Try cleaning each side first with soap and water or rubbing alcohol.

It is even necessary for all your family members to wash their hands regularly. Make sure you sanitize your diabetes equipment before every use. If not vaccinated, always wear a mask even if you are at home.

Do not get close to sick people, don’t wait for them to get sick severely. First, ask them to get isolated.