Diabetes can be a risk factor for a more severe course of Covid-19. For example, when people don’t know about their diabetes and therefore don’t take any medication – which, according to estimates, applies to more than a quarter of those affected.
According to the latest information from the German Diabetes Society (DDG), the number of diabetes patients in Germany is at least eight million and is growing steadily.
We have about 1,500 new cases in Germany every day, mainly type 2 diabetes cases, said spokesman Baptist Gallwitz of the German press agency. By 2040, twelve million people are expected to be sick. That is why the DDG, among others, is fighting for suitable prevention 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.
Diabetics are not necessarily corona risk patients, according to the DDG on World Diabetes Day on November 14th. You cannot lump all diabetes patients together. Especially in young people with type 1 diabetes who achieve a setting close to the norm with their insulin therapy and who do not yet have any secondary diseases, there is no increased risk of a severe course of a corona infection, said Gallwitz.
For older patients with type 2 diabetes and other health restrictions such as cardiovascular and vascular diseases, high blood pressure or even being very overweight, Covid-19 is associated with risks. Covid infection leads to an inflammatory reaction throughout the body. This can cause additional damage. The risk of vascular occlusion and clot formation is also increased, said Gallwitz, who works as the deputy medical director at the Tbingen University Hospital.
According to the latest data from the DGG, there are at least eight million diabetics nationwide. In addition, there are an estimated two million who are not yet aware of their disease. 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 urinary tract infections or pneumonia.
The DDG has since issued recommendations for the treatment of Covid 19 patients. An important message: older patients with Covid-19 should also be tested for diabetes. In addition, blood sugar levels should be closely monitored, as they could change, for example, during cortisone treatment. Diabetes therapy often has to be adjusted during 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 worried 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.
dpa-infocom, dpa: 201113-99-318016 / 2