Diabetic Patients May Be at Higher Risk for Complications from COVID
Disease Control and the World Health Organization have identified people living with diabetes at increased risk of complications from coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 infection, also known as COVID-19.Type 2 diabetes does not cause an elevated risk of infection per se but a greater risk of complications and mortality that arise from COVID-19 infection. Cardiovascular disease, neuropathy, and organ dysfunction, including kidney and eye, all are common issues associated with Type 2 diabetes, and have been seen to be further exacerbated by COVID-19 infection.
While doctors still do not have enough evidence to explain all of the ways the virus affects the body, reports from all over the world have identified connections between inflammation and blood coagulation abnormalities and dangerous outcomes from the virus. However, what many have not discussed is the possibility that quarantines, stay-at-home orders and remote working — necessary to prevent the spreading of the virus — may also present additional risk for those who already experience a sedentary lifestyle.
A study by the National Institutes of Health shows that people who spend significant amounts of time not being active are subject to a 112 percent greater risk of potential complications, including Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome Coronavirus, and therefore, presents not only risks to those with Type 2 diabetes, but to those already at risk for Type 2 diabetes. Obesity is a key cause of Type 2 diabetes and one that the CDC has long been concerned about as a growing problem in the United States — even before the current pandemic — and the lifestyle changes which tend toward activities which lean toward weight gain rather than weight loss.
Health experts are therefore emphasizing the importance of maintaining metabolic health by managing potential risk factors associated with the disease, all while maintaining social distancing and engaging in safe behaviors connected to preventing the spread of COVID-19.A variety of tools have become available in recent years that utilize modern technology, including app-driven diet, exercise and behavior modification plans, but the precision required in order to mitigate diabetes risk has been limited.
One recently introduced system, BEATdiabetes, consists of a unique smartphone and/or tablet app comprising a digital version of a successful diabetes weight management program by the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, Mass. It provides a suite of life management tools that provide users with personalized coaching driven by a unique, AI-based digital platform that responds to the specific needs of the user."Even in the best of times, people at risk for Type 2 diabetes must be extra vigilant in order to manage their weight, their blood pressure and other potential risk factors," says Faz Chowdury, Ph.D., chairman and CEO of Nemaura Medical, Inc., which developed the system. "It can be a daunting task that requires constant maintenance – especially when trying to manage it alone."In addition, the company has developed the sugarBEAT non-invasive continuous glucose monitor, that adheres to the skin (not pierces it), tracking a user’s glycemic levels throughout the day and providing valuable coaching in response. Nemaura Medical believes that regular use of the system can improve the health of people with Type 2 diabetes who need extra help managing it, prevent diabetes to those at very high risk, such as pre-diabetes, and may even reverse diabetes in some patients.
While COVID-19 may pose additional risk for people with Type 2 diabetes, it is especially important to identify solutions to manage Type 2 diabetes while protecting yourself from the virus.