It’s a risky day and age we’re living in right now — risky for all of us, not just those who are living with underlying conditions that could make us more susceptible to the disease caused by the coronavirus. The disease is called COVID-19. Symptoms might include shortness of breath, fever, cough, and runny nose. While there is much we don’t know about how the coronavirus attacks its host, we do know that COVID-19 is far more dangerous if you’re older or have an underlying condition.
Is one of those underlying conditions diabetes?
The obvious answer seems like “yes,” but the truth is that we don’t have enough data to be sure. It’s helpful to remember that the coronavirus is extremely new. We believe that people living with diabetes aren’t necessarily more likely to contract the virus than anyone else, but that outcomes are less likely to be positive. Still, it seems like older people living with diabetes are at far greater risk than the young.
According to the American Diabetes Association FAQ: “People with diabetes do face a higher chance of experiencing serious complications from COVID-19. In general, people with diabetes are more likely to experience severe symptoms and complications when infected with [any] virus. If diabetes is well-managed, the risk of getting severely sick from COVID-19 is about the same as the general population.”
Do you have COVID-19 symptoms already? The ADA recommends that you: “Have your glucose reading available, have your ketone reading available, keep track of your fluid consumptions (you can use a 1-liter water bottle) and report, be clear on your symptoms (for example: are you nauseated? Just a stuffy nose?), [and] ask your questions on how to manage your diabetes.”
The bottom line is this: there has never been a better time to keep your diabetes under control. Although you should be staying indoors as much as possible and avoiding people in general, you need to be getting the appropriate amount of exercise. Vitamin D never hurt anybody! Don’t go outside with a group, but feel free to take a walk around the block or find an out-of-the-way hike to enjoy.
Manage your meals as best you can. Frozen fruits and veggies are just as good as fresh, and you need them right now. Don’t skimp on nutritional content or allow yourself to become lazy during this time of crisis.
The second you feel sick, make that call!
How much do you know about diabetes and how it affects our society at large? 23.1 million people had been diagnosed with diabetes in the United States by 2015. An estimated 7.2 million people are likely to remain undiagnosed, and that number appears to be growing steadily year by year. That’s nearly ten percent of our population. 1.25 million of these people suffer from type 1 diabetes.
That means a lot of people require constant care and supervision, diabetic education, and hope.
What might be even more concerning is that an awe-inspiring 84.1 million citizens over the age of eighteen were prediabetics (or about a third of our population). Prediabetes is a common indicator that type 2 diabetes is forthcoming. It means a person’s blood sugar is in a sort of purgatory. It’s not as low as it should be, but not high enough that a diabetes diagnosis is imminent. Other health conditions such as heart disease and stroke are more likely to develop if you have prediabetes first.
Diabetes means management. Prediabetes is more about prevention.
There are a few more things about diabetes demographics you should know if you’re at risk (and especially if you don’t know whether or not you’re at risk):
- It’s the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.
- The chances of developing diabetes or being diagnosed with diabetes increases with age. Less than a quarter of one percent of United States citizens under twenty have been diagnosed with diabetes.
- Diabetes is more likely if you are Native American, African American, Hispanic, or Asian American. Mexican Americans are most at risk among the Hispanic population.
- Medical costs for a diabetic patient are at least 2.3 times higher than what patients would spend if they didn’t suffer from the disease.
- Men and women suffer from diabetes at an almost equal rate.
- Diabetes is more prevalent in the deep south and Puerto Rico.
Diabetes costs the United States an estimated $327 billion annually, a cost which is only growing. $237 billion accounts for medical costs, while $90 billion results from diminished productivity.
Risk factors include:
- Smoking. Nearly half of those who suffer from diabetes have a history of smoking.
- Obesity. Nearly 88 percent of those who suffer from diabetes are overweight or obese.
- Exercise. Nearly 41 percent of those who suffer from diabetes lead sedentary lifestyles before diagnosis.
- Genetics. Nearly 74 percent of those who suffer from diabetes had high blood pressure, and nearly 67 percent of those 21 or older had high cholesterol. Family history of either condition increases the risk for diabetes as well, as does a family history of diabetes.
If you have any of these risk factors or think you may have prediabetes or diabetes, you should make an appointment with your doctor immediately. This disease requires care!
If you are coming across this post, there is a good chance that you or someone you love has been diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes is by no means a death sentence, but it necessitates some pretty major lifestyle changes, so it is good to keep yourself informed of the best practices for avoiding type 2 diabetes.