Diabetes and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As a person with diabetes, what is my risk of getting coronavirus (COVID-19) infection?

Studies have shown that people with diabetes possess a greater risk of experiencing more severe complications from coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the difference in risk between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is still not clear. Factors that may influence your risk include your age, diabetes control, presence of diabetes-related complications, and presence of other diseases such as hypertension and heart disease.

As a person with diabetes, how can coronavirus (COVID-19) infection affect my blood sugar levels?

Having an infection can cause your blood sugar to increase or decrease more easily. The following are symptoms of very high blood sugar (which can lead to a diabetic emergency):

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Intense thirst
  • Abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath, or a fruity-smelling breath
  • Difficulty thinking, or feeling extremely weak


The following are symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia):

  • Dizziness
  • Intense hunger
  • Trembling
  • Profuse sweating
  • Palpitations (a strong heartbeat)
  • Difficulty thinking, or feeling extremely weak


If you develop any of these symptoms, check your blood sugar immediately. It is important to note that some of these symptoms can be similar to those caused by the infection itself.

As a person with diabetes, what should I prepare before I get sick or get quarantined?

Here is a list of things you should prepare:

  • Phone or clinic numbers of your doctors, nearest pharmacy, and medical insurance provider (if any)
  • Phone number of your emergency contact
  • A list of all your medications with their doses and frequency, including vitamins and supplements
  • Food and drinking water, good for more than 14 days
  • A supply of insulin (if being used) and all maintenance medications, good for more than 14 days
  • Alcohol or hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol), disinfectants, and tissues

As a person with diabetes, what types of food should I stock up on before I get sick or get quarantined? 

You should stock up on food that is both healthy and long-lasting. Some suggestions would be:

  • Fruits such as apples, oranges, unripe bananas (that can ripen over several days), and dried fruit with no added sugar. If buying fruit, choose those canned in 100% juice with no added sugar
  • Vegetables such as broccoli, legumes, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, and canned tomatoes
  • Soups
  • Protein sources such as canned or frozen fish, lean meat (that can be frozen), seeds, nuts, low-fat cheese, and low-fat or fat-free milk with no added sugar
  • Carbohydrates such as whole-grain cereal, rice and pasta

You should also have at hand simple carbohydrates such as candy, chocolate, juice or soda, to help raise your blood sugar if it becomes too low (hypoglycaemia).


American Diabetes Association (ADA)

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)

Find out how you can prevent diabetes while at home here.

Diabetes and Coronavirus (COVID-19) appeared first on BioMark.