As can be seen, the daily count of Coronavirus cases and fatalities is increasing at an unprecedented rate. In fact, any person of any age has the same risk factors for contracting the virus as the next coronavirus-and-diabetes-picperson. On the negative side, diabetes is a poor prognostic factor for Coronavirus infection.

So what is the link between Coronavirus and diabetes?

Novel Coronavirus  Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)

In fact, a likely source of the Coronavirus was a wild animal food market, “wet market” in Wuhan City, China. Specifically, it formed from a bat coronavirus and mutated to a Pangolin Coronavirus. Then again, mutated in the reservoir of the Pangolin, through zoonosis passed on to inoculate (infect) a human.

To point out, zoonosis is an infectious disease that spreads from non-human animals to humans. Finally, the coronavirus reached the perfect host, a human, mutated, multiplied and became Coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19). In general, after a person talks, sneezes, or coughs, the Coronavirus can be transmitted by air droplets.

At the same time, the distance can range from 3 to 6 ft (1 to 2 m) away. For this reason, this is why we must practice “social distancing”. Similarly, touching hands on certain surfaces and then touching the mucus membranes (T-zone) can spread the virus.

To clarify, the T-zone is your eyes, nose and mouth (mucous membranes).

Coronavirus Symptoms

In reality, the incubation period of COVID-19 is 2-14 days. As a result, the CDC says you can experience symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath. On the other hand, is it the Coronavirus or are there other underlying factors, increasing your susceptibility?

In fact, most people will have a mild to moderate case, which means cold symptoms to a bad flu. Similarily, COVID-19, causes milder symptoms in about 80 percent of cases, while the remainder are severe or critical.

However, if COVID-19 worsens and inflammation develops. Then, patients might start out with a fever and cough that progresses to pneumonia or worse. Identically, COVID-19 seems to follow other virus patterns like SARS and MERS.

3 Phases of SARS

All things considered, after the SARS 2002 outbreak, the WHO reported that the virus attacked the lungs in three phases.

Phase 1

Phase 1, is the viral replication phase, usually lasts for about a week after symptom start. In fact, viruses will increase in respiratory secretions (droplets), stool and urine. In any event, the start of an infection, the coronavirus rapidly spreads and invades the lungs.

At this instant, Chest X-rays and computed tomography (CT) scans show slowly progressing lung damage.

Phase 2

Phase 2, is the immune hyper-reactive phase, damage to the lungs is a result of the body’s immune system. In essence, the body tries to fight the virus and sends immune cells to repair the lung tissue. But sometimes your immune system goes crazy and these cells destroy everything in it’s path, including healthy tissue.

In fact, studies have shown that many COVID-19 patients develop pneumonia in both lungs, accompanied by shortness of breath. Finally, fever may increase, oxygen may decrease, pneumonia or development of adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) will occur. Furthermore, dead cells clog up the lungs, and pneumonia worsens.

Surprisingly, rather than healing, there is more damage to the body from the immune system response. For this reason, a storm builds, known as a Cytokine Storm Syndrome causing self inflicted immune system response damage.

Phase 3

Phase 3, is the pulmonary (lungs) destruction phase. For the most part, fever has usually disappeared unless there are other infections. However lung damage may continue or progress towards a honeycomb-like pattern on a CT scan. Furthermore, these lesions are present in those affected by COVID-19.

In effect, permanent injury and fibrosis (scarring) of the lung will set in and the patient may die. However, as a result of respiratory failure some may need ventilators or may recover with lung damage. Consequently, not all patients go through three phases.

In fact, 25 percent of SARS patients suffered respiratory failure, the signature of severe cases. In summary, this holds true for people who are older or have impaired immune systems.

Mortality (Death Rate)

coronavirus-and-diabetes-pic2Overall, globally, 3.4 % of reported COVID-19 cases have died. In comparison, the seasonal flu kills fewer than 1% of those infected(1). Death Rate = (number of deaths / number of cases) = probability of dying if infected by the virus (%).

The rate may be lower because they didn’t include the asymptomatic (milder cases) and not reported. The rate is changing daily and will not reflect the posted rate. In detail, go here for the latest daily statistics.

“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” says Donald Trump. In essence, this is no ordinary flu, it is much more aggressive.

Comorbidity

Comorbidity means the incidence or presence of at least one condition or disease. Since, those suffering serious effects have pre-existing conditions. In fact, if you have a pre-existing condition then the risk of death is around 10 %; correspondingly, risk of critical illness increases to 40 % if you contract Coronavirus.

Surprisingly, statistics show that diabetics have a 7.3 % higher chance of fatality than someone with no condition. On the other hand, people with no other known conditions have a 0.9 % fatality rate(2). Not managing high blood sugar will lead to so many other chronic complications and possibly death.

Above all, you need to take care of yourself or help a loved one to manage their diabetes.

Diabetes Risk

In fact, high blood sugar is toxic which causes problems in every single cell in your body. Since uncontrolled diabetes is a condition of impaired immunity and risk factor. In addition, infection may increase susceptibility towards COVID-19 and worsen the outcome.

In particular, according to the International Diabetes Foundation (IDF), older people and diabetics can become severely ill with COVID-19. People with diabetes who develop a viral infection are harder to treat due to fluctuations in blood glucose levels. Additionally, diabetes complications make the condition worse.

A compromised immune system means a longer healing period because the virus thrives in elevated blood sugar. Another factor related to Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome are inflammatory conditions related to excessive insulin. In fact, this chronic, systemic inflammation known as insulin resistance predisposes you to complications from infection.

In other words, not only will cuts take longer to heal but any condition like infections. Equally important, normalizing your blood sugar and insulin is the key to reducing inflammation and is critical to survive COVID-19. Furthermore, diabetes is a heterogeneous condition, as a result, not all diabetics will have poor outcomes.

Factors Affecting Outcome

  • How long have you had diabetes?
  • Degree of hyperglycemia, (how high is your blood sugar?)
  • Other chronic complications and acute comorbidities (for example hypertension, neuropathy, and retinopathy)

Noninfected Diabetics

  • Monitor and control your glucose
  • Try to remain stress free, because stress will increase glucose levels
  • Keep yourself hydrated, drink water, coffee or tea
  • Ensure you have a good supply of medications, in case you need to quarantine
  • Go out for food, gas or other necessities as needed
  •  Do not change your lifestyle, this is not a good time to start exercising vigorously and restrict carbohydrates
  • Practice social distancing
  • Reduce the curve
  • Have all relevant contact details
  • Make sure you have access to enough food
  • Ensure you can correct a hypoglycemic situation, fresh fruit like an apple or banana works great
  • If you live alone, have a contact number of a friend and doctor if you get ill
  • Have a plan so that if you do become infected you will be ready.

Infected COVID-19 Diabetics

  • If you show flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing), seek medical support and treatment immediately
  • Follow medical support advice, try to manage optimal glucose levels.

How To Stay Safe

coronavirus-and-diabetes-pic3In the long run, for people with diabetes, it’s important to take precautions to avoid the virus if possible. In brief, keep a social distance of 6 feet and do not gather in groups of more than 10. To emphasize, you will hear this from health officials everyday, wash hands regularly and avoid touching your T-zone.

Stay home as much as possible, isolate yourself, now is the time to act. On the whole, the IDF and ADA encourage diabetics to keep informed of the latest developments. For this reason, watch for daily updates and advice from local, federal and reliable news sources.

Video

Additionally, have a look at this video from Ninja Nerd Science, he discusses the epidemiology, pathology and diagnosis of coronavirus.

Finally, declared as a pandemic, COVID-19 continues to ravage people’s health. As a result, thousands have been victimized by this mysterious illness. At the same time, as the virus spreads so does the misinformation. In these learning times, we need to separate fact from fiction, so you can take steps to safeguard your health.

After all, it’s not the end of the world YET! Have faith and pray for people to use common sense. Keep Safe and Stay Healthy.

Above all, thanks for reading and I appreciate your comments.

References

  1. WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 3 March 2020 – World Health Organization, March 3, 2020
  2. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-age-sex-demographics/#pre-existing-conditions

Images courtesy of  NIAID-RML

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20 thoughts on “Coronavirus and Diabetes”

  1. Corona virus has caused so much panic across the globe and this is leading to shut down of places and partial lockdown in other places. i think the mode of transmission is the major reason why there is much more panic than that of SARS and MERS. other thing are similar. thank you

    1. Hello,

      I agree with you the pandemic is causing destruction wherever it is. Diabetes is making it absolutely worse. 

      Thanks for dropping by and your comment.

      Jimmy

  2. I truly appreciate your article in light of our world’s current circumstances. My husband is diabetic and the information in this article is very useful to him. I think it is important for all of us to practice these health recommendations for the safety of our communities and to help get this virus under control. I take these extra precautions myself because I could be prediabetic and not even know it because I didn’t have time to get the proper test done. Plus, I think it is important to be safe to ensure the safety of my family and my neighbors. Thanks for sharing this info!

  3. Thanks for this article on the Corona Virus and Diabetes. It’s good to remind ourselves to be extra-careful but especially to those who are suffering from diabetes due to impaired immunity.

    The best thing to be safe is to social distance since it is better not to contract the virus than to have it with uncertain body resistance and immunity.

    This post can help people with diabetes in relation to the present pandemic situation at hand.

    1. Hello Jimmy,

      Uncontrolled diabetes, without the virus can do major damage to your body. My main message is to try to get your diabetes in check as soon as you can, the virus is another thing in itself.

      I agree do all of the things that the health authorities are telling us to do, like social distancing.

      Stay healthy and safe.

      Thanks for reading and your comment.

      Jimmy.

  4. Thank you for explaining this terrible virus more. I didn’t know that diabetics were susceptible to the virus as much as the people with critical problems. Being pre-diabetic do I fall into that 10% of getting it? This website has shed new light on the things I have been reading, thank you for more information about this it helps me so much thank you again.

    1. Hello Zach,

      We all have the same chance of contracting the virus once we are exposed to it. On the other hand the people that have a greater risk of severe problems or fatality are the ones with pre-existing conditions. Pre-diabetic is the same as diabetic, although your blood sugar is a bit above normal, your insulin could be high for years and years. Read my post on What Does Insulin Resistance Mean? this will help explain the link between diabetes and insulin. 

      Thanks for dropping by and your comment.

       

  5. Its really important that those with diabetes take care of themselves. You have to protect yourself and don’t get this virus, Yeah we know it the elderly are going to suffer. I hear its also recommended that we all eat foods that will keep our immune system in good shape, so when we get he virus we are not found with a weak immune system. 

    One thing is for Sure, that we play a major role in making sure that a diabetic keeps their blood pressure levels low. I am not a diabetic but a lot of the people I know who are over 40 are. 

    Many thanks for this article, it will really help make a difference and preserve a number of lives.

    1. Hello Donny,

      We really need to take care of ourselves and by eating a healthy diet you should be OK. In most cases people do not suffer unless they have some sort of comorbidity, but you know the virus is unpredictable. I am lucky as I have not contracted the virus yet and hope that it stays this way.

      Thanks for reading and your comment.

      Jimmy.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing such an informative article among us. I appreciated this post very much. Here you have discussed in detail about Coronavirus and Diabetes. You mentioned very well how to deal with COVID19. As a caregiver for someone with diabetes or a diabetic yourself, you might be wondering if COVID-19 poses an extra threat to your health. Here’s what you can do to prepare and stay safe, mainly if you’re living in a Coronavirus zone. Thanks for presenting beautifully. I’m so impressed. I think this article is useful for everyone.
    Lastly, I would like to share this post on my social media so everyone can know about Coronavirus and Diabetes. Thanks

    1. Hello Tanvir,

      Currently, I don’t think there are any Coronavirus free zones in the world except Antarctica. It seems like anywhere you go there is a community spread of the virus and now someone else is infected. I am glad you are impressed with the article. Please share this article with your friends, family and on your social media.

      Above all, I appreciate you dropping by and your comments.

      Jimmy.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing with us a wonderful and informative article. The main theme of this article is Coronavirus and Diabetes. It is truly incredible that you have illustrated this topic so well in your article. I have learned a lot by reading your article and gained a lot of knowledge about it. Of the points mentioned in your article, I like infected COVID-19 Diabetics

    My father is a diabetic, so he is most at risk for a virus. We always try to protect the coronavirus from the yogi in order to keep her sugar under control so we buy various products from the diabetic store and eat her so that her sugar is under control. Finally, I enjoyed reading your article and so I’d like to share your article in my Facebook group if you are happy with me.

    1. Hello Asraful,

      Everyone has the same risk of contracting the coronavirus once exposed to it. Diabetics carry a risk of it potentially becoming fatal. However, the risk factor is higher as your hyperglycemia increases. 

      Death rate as I mentioned in the article is 7.3 %. It sounds like you are doing the right things to keep your father diabetes under control, which I commend. I am glad you enjoyed reading the article. 

      Please share with friends, family and on social media.

      Above all, I thank you for dropping by and your comments.

      Jimmy.

  8. Thank you so much for giving us this wonderful article. Your article is really very informative and I have gained a lot of knowledge which is very helpful to me. At present, the coronavirus is very severe and many people have died. Any person of any age, the virus has the same risk factors for subsequent coronavirus and diabetes-like infection. Diabetes lowers immunity and my father has diabetes so I am very careful to keep my distance and not to infect him. So I will follow your tips in the article to be safe and healthy.

    I will definitely pass your article on to my other friends and they will certainly share their new experiences with you.  Also I must show your article to my father. Can I share your article on my social media?

    1. Hello Shanta,

      The main point of having diabetes is to first manage it, get it under control. Then if you are infected with covid-19 then you have a better chance of the virus not becoming fatal. Please do share this article with your friends, family  and Social Media

      Thanks for dropping by and reading.

      Jimmy.. 

  9. Hi,

    I want to thank you much for this enlightening article that you have portrayed about the coronavirus and diabetes. The combination of the two are destructive and potentially hazardous for us. The most significant piece of this article is the means by which to remain safe; you have depicted this specific Point very well. Again, that is the reason I need to give you thanks once more.

    I will peruse this article with my companions and family members, so they can get some data about the risky malady and they can remain safe.

    1. Hello,

      Coronavirus and diabetes together is potentially a very serious and dangerous combination. Unfortunately, once you have had it we do not know what the long term consequences are. Please do share my blog with your friends and family.

      Thanks for dropping by and reading.

      Jimmy.

  10. Yes I agree, being a diabetic myself, unmanaged diabetes is deadly, so try as much as possible to take precautions to avoid the virus. Briefly, follow the social guidelines of 6 feet and do not gather in large groups. Health officials recommend you wash hands regularly and avoid touching your T-zone. 

    1. Hello Evans,

      I am glad that you understand that diabetes is potentially life threatening in a case like this. Uncontrolled hyperglycemia can be life threatening without covid-19. 

      Thanks for dropping by and your comments.

      Jimmy. 

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