You’ve Made It Past the Coronavirus with Diabetes, Now What?

Healthy Immune System with Diabetes

As a country, we have been on an emotional roller coaster ride waiting for the next horrible announcement regarding the coronavirus. Rightly being concerned having an underlying condition has greatly added to our fears.

Fear can put us in a tailspin or be an awakening. Why would we fear having diabetes, especially during this pandemic?
Diabetes can weaken your immune system, making it difficult to fight off the virus. The most common conditions reported from COVID-19 hospital admissions were diabetes, chronic lung disease, and cardiovascular disease. [1]

The risk factors increase when patients have one underlying health condition. Consider at least 68 percent of people age 65 or older with diabetes die from some form of heart disease. [2] This indicates diabetes patients are more likely to have a second underlying condition.

Over 90 percent of diabetes patients are overweight or obese.[3] Obese people typically have lower oxygen levels, are predisposed to pulmonary dysfunction, and have decreased chest function because of the weight on their chest. Those COVID-19 patients were more likely in need of being ventilated.[4] Because COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory disease, this puts one at a greater disadvantage. This brings us to a third underlying condition.

With these three underlying conditions (diabetes, heart disease, overweight/obesity), how do you beat the odds? Unfortunately, your chances are diminished. At this time, we don’t know if the COVID-19 will return. If not, can we let go of our fear? Can life go back to the way it was? I certainly hope not.

Let’s turn our attention to the 2018-2019 flu season. The CDC estimates 35.5 million people were sick with the flu; 16.5 million people went to the doctor due to the flu; over 490,000 were hospitalized, and 34, 200 people died from the flu. Over 31,000 deaths were people age 50 years and older.[5]

The flu can make your diabetes worse, causing erratic glucose levels. Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections can be flu-relation complications. With a weakened immune system, it can be harder to fight these infections, particularly pneumonia. Poorly managed diabetes greatly increases your risk. As we discussed the three underlying conditions, diabetes, heart disease, and being overweight or obese, these are conditions that can make your recovery from the flu also difficult.

Let’s use our fear as an awakening. Every day, all year long, we should be thinking about improving these underlying conditions, not only during the coronavirus pandemic. By doing so we can decrease the hospitalization and death rate.

The number one factor in improving is to reduce and maintain healthy glucose levels. Diabetes effects your blood flow, it can kill what were once healthy blood vessels. Once those tiny blood vessels are gone, you cannot bring them back.

If there is a lesson from all of this, I hope it has you thinking about being healthy all year long. Give your body the best chance to fight off any illness through a healthy immune system.

  • Prioritize your health
  • Get rest
  • Exercise
  • Eat healthy
  • Maintain healthy glucose levels
  • Keep your weight down
  • Reduce stress
  • Laugh

I wish you the best of health!