Are Coronavirus Patients Developing Diabetes? What You Need to Know

Diabetic man being administered glucose test; wearing mask as COVID precaution

Ever since the first few cases of COVID-19 were reported, scientists and medical professionals have been wary about the condition’s effects. COVID-19 is said to have both short and long-term effects. One of the recent developments in researching the effects of COVID is the shocking link it has to diabetes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, patients who contracted coronavirus were more likely to develop diabetes. The data involved more than 500,000 patients aged 18 or lower. Similar studies from across the world have yielded similar results.

Does COVID-19 cause diabetes?

The novel coronavirus has been around for a relatively short time. As such, there is limited data on the effects of the disease. At the moment, there isn’t enough research to conclusively determine if coronavirus leads to diabetes.

From the limited research currently available, there does seem to be a link between the two diseases. It is important to note that not everyone who contracts COVID displays the common symptoms. As such, it’s important to get tested if you suspect you might have contracted the virus.

insulin pen, diabetic measurement tools and pills on orange background

How does COVID-19 increase diabetes development?

One of the plausible theories on how coronavirus may lead to diabetes is how the former condition attacks the body. SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus responsible for COVID, attaches itself to a protein found on the surface of cells.

This protein is known as ACE2. A working theory is the virus attaches itself to the protein and affects insulin-producing cells, leading to diabetes.

Discrepancies with the coronavirus and diabetes link               

From the studies mentioned above, one might make a direct link between the two conditions. However, since the information is limited, there are still a lot of questions on whether the link is real or perceived.

One of the discrepancies with this link theory is the independent stats on diabetes. According to data from the World Health Organization, diabetes cases have been drastically rising over the last four decades.

As a result, these studies may be flawed since some of the patients may have had diabetes before they contracted the virus. Additionally, since diabetes symptoms can take years to manifest, these patients may not have known they had the disease.

Female black healthcare professional administering blood pressure test on female black diabetic patient

How can diabetics protect themselves from COVID-19?

The jury is still out on whether coronavirus increases your chances of developing diabetes. However, it is well known that diabetes affects your immunity and can increase your chances of developing other conditions. As such, it’s best to protect yourself from contracting the coronavirus, which also compromises your immunity and may lead to further complications.

Here are a few practical ways diabetics can protect themselves from contracting coronavirus:

1. Take your medications as directed                             

Your prescribed medication is tailored to manage the condition and boost your immunity. Taking your medicine as directed will significantly reduce the chances of contracting coronavirus.

2. Get vaccinated

COVID-19 vaccines are now easily found in most places. These vaccines have been proven to lower the risk of contracting the virus. Since diabetes lowers your overall immunity, the vaccine will act as an extra layer of protection between you and the COVID.

3. Exercise regularly and stay active

Exercise holds countless benefits to your overall health and wellbeing. Whether you’re working from home or still commuting to work, you should set aside some time to exercise. Exercises like yoga, running, and lifting weights can help you manage your diabetes and keep you in better shape. (Need socks or braces for use during exercise? We’ve got you covered.)

4. Eat a healthy and balanced diet

Diabetics know the importance of a balanced diet. Eating the wrong foods could aggravate your condition, and should you contract coronavirus, the effects will be worse. Manage your nutrition by consuming foods rich in Iron, Vitamins A, B6, C, and E, and Zinc.

Is there a direct link between coronavirus and diabetes?

While it’s still too early to definitively reach a conclusion, preliminary reports show contracting coronavirus may increase your chances of developing diabetes. Admittedly, more research is needed in the area, and various institutions are trying to collect more data.

For the time being, as a diabetic patient, you should take the above-mentioned steps to protect yourself. In addition, if you do contract COVID-19, you should seek medical intervention as soon as possible so as to lower any chance of developing diabetes or other chronic diseases.

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