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Have diabetes and are worried about Covid-19? Here is what you should know

Saman Haziq
Filed on August 27, 2020 | Last updated on August 31, 2020 at 12.31 pm

According to the International Diabetes Federation, 39 million people are currently living with diabetes in the Middle East and North Africa, and it is estimated that by 2045, around 82 million people will have the condition. In fact, 40 per cent of Covid-19 mortality cases in the UAE and Kuwait announced had diabetes. It is therefore imperative that we educate people with diabetes and their caregivers on diabetes self-management and associated illnesses at this time.

With diabetes being reported as a risk factor for the severity of Covid-19, people with diabetes are being encouraged to take precautions to avoid contracting the virus, such as washing hands thoroughly and regularly, cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that are touched frequently, and avoiding contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing.

Patients living with Type 2 diabetes need to pay extra attention to their glucose levels and monitor them regularly to avoid complications caused by high or low blood glucose levels. Should they display flu-like symptoms, it is vital they consult with a physician immediately for medical support.

It is recommended that you work with your doctor to identify your personal blood sugar goals based on your age, health, diabetes treatment, and whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Your range may be different if you have other health conditions or if your blood sugar is often low or high. Always follow your doctor's recommendations.

Keep your health in check

Covid-19 can cause more severe symptoms and complications in some people living with diabetes, the elderly, and those with other chronic conditions such as heart disease and lung disease. Therefore, maintaining glycemic control is important, especially in these times.

If you have diabetes and you have become unwell, it is important that you practice the following recommendations*

.    Maintaining open communication with your doctor and diabetes care team. They are an excellent resource if you have questions or concerns about your personal health management.
.    Following the advice of your doctor regarding medication usage.
.    Being aware of the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, as effective blood glucose management can become a challenge when sick.
.    Regular checking of blood sugar with a blood glucose monitor is important to keep blood glucose in control.
.    For those who routinely monitor their blood glucose, on the advice of their clinical team, they should continue to do this more often.
.    Staying hydrated and having unsweetened drinks on hand; and practicing eating smaller portions but more often.

*Reference:  https://www.diabetes.ca/resources/faqabout-covid-19-and-diabetes


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