Diabetes can be a risk factor for a more severe course of Covid-19

BerlinThe number of diabetes patients in Germany is the German Diabetes Society (DDG) at around seven million and growing steadily. “We have about 1500 new cases in Germany every day, mainly type 2 diabetes cases,” said Baptist Gallwitz spokesman for the German press agency. Twelve million people are expected to be infected by 2040. That is why the DDG, among others, is fighting for suitable preventive measures.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has been calling diabetes an epidemic for years. As with Covid-19, there are treatment options – but unlike the viral disease, there are no chances of a cure.

For older patients with type 2 diabetes and other health restrictions such as cardiovascular and vascular diseases, high blood pressure or very overweight, Covid-19 is associated with risks. “With a Covid infection, an inflammatory reaction occurs throughout the body. This can cause additional vascular damage. The risk of vascular occlusions and clot formation is also increased, ”said Gallwitz, who works as the deputy medical director at the University Hospital in Tübingen.

However, diabetics are not necessarily corona risk patients, according to the DDG on World Diabetes Day on November 14th. “You can’t lump all diabetes patients together. Young people with type 1 diabetes in particular, who achieve a setting close to the norm with their insulin therapy and who do not yet have any secondary diseases, do not have an increased risk of a severe corona infection, ”said Gallwitz.

Check blood sugar levels

Of the approximately seven million people with diabetes nationwide, according to information from the German Diabetes Aid at least two million have not yet heard of their illness. This can be a danger with a corona infection – just like diabetes that is not well controlled. “If the metabolism is not well under control and the blood sugar levels are well above the norm, the immune system is weakened,” explained the diabetologist Gallwitz. This carries an increased risk of additional bacterial infections such as a urinary tract infection or pneumonia.

The DDG has now issued recommendations for the treatment of Covid 19 patients. An important message: Elderly patients with Covid-19 should also be tested for diabetes. In addition, the blood sugar values ​​should be closely monitored, as these could change, for example, during cortisone treatment. The diabetes therapy often has to be adjusted in the case of Covid-19 treatment, said Gallwitz. “Often you have to switch to a different form of therapy with the drugs that you would otherwise take in tablet form.”

At the beginning of the corona pandemic, there was a lot of uncertainty among diabetics. “Many patients did not attend their normal check-up appointments with general practitioners, diabetologists or in the diabetes outpatient clinics because they were concerned that they would be infected,” said Gallwitz. Some of the facilities were overloaded with other patients. “This meant that patients with diabetes were not cared for as well on an outpatient basis as usual, and that has now improved again. I hope that outpatient care can now be maintained despite the increasing number of cases. Telemedical offers can also help here. “


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