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Covid-19: Extra risk for Type II diabetics

Checking blood sugar levels is a simple procedure that can be done at home. © Tesa Robbins/Pixabay

People who suffer from Type II diabetes are at higher risk of bad outcomes if they become infected with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, an expert has warned.

Type II diabetes is considered a lifestyle disease, associated with high blood pressure and overweight, and usually comes on later in life. The disease has a different mechanism from Type I diabetes, which is more usually associated with insulin injections.

Both types are equally vulnerable to the virus, but the complicating factors associated with Type II make an infection more dangerous.

People who are overweight, or have high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease are especially likely to have a bad outcome when they are admitted to hospital,” said Professor Chantal Mathieu, professor of endocrinology at Leuven university hospital.

People with Type I diabetes are less likely to have to be admitted to hospital if infected, she said, but if they are, the outcome can be serious.

When you have an infection, such as from the coronavirus, your blood sugar levels can become disrupted,” she explained.

This translates into an increased insulin requirement. A few important tips: check your blood sugar levels regularly, never stop your insulin and increase the dose if necessary.”

Type II diabetics are less likely to use insulin – in this form of diabetes, the pancreas produces insulin normally, but the body is unable to use it properly. However they can check their blood sugar levels easily, and should seek medical advice.

And the standard rules for protecting against the virus – hand hygiene, face masks and social distancing – should always be followed scrupulously.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times