- Diabetics are at risk for Covid-19
- Blood sugar control must be followed rigorously during the epidemic
- There is no risk of insulin shortage
In this period of Covid-19 pandemic and confinement, diabetics must be particularly careful to keep diabetes as balanced as possible. In a statement, the French-speaking Diabetes Society warns that according to a Chinese study, 48% of patients hospitalized for the coronavirus “had co-morbidity and in particular diabetes or cardiovascular disease”. If diabetics are not more likely than others to get the virus, they have a higher risk of severe infection and therefore death. It would be multiplied by a figure included “between two and three”, Explains Boris Hansel, diabetologist at the Bichat hospital in Paris, interviewed on Thursday March 19 by Europe 1.
Indeed, “diabetics have a more fragile immune system. From this in fact, they can get a secondary infection if they are infected with Covid-19 “, explains Nicolas Chevalier, head of the endocrinology – diabetology – reproduction department of the Nice University Hospital, interviewed by nice morning. However, not all diabetics are housed in the same boat. So, “type 1 diabetics, who are often young patients, do not seem to be more at risk of catching Covid-19 than the rest of the population ”, he continues, recalling, however, that type 1 diabetes affects only around 10% of diabetics.
People with type 2 diabetes are often overweight, elderly, or prone to cardiovascular problems. de facto more vulnerable to Covid-19. “So just because you’re diabetic doesn’t mean you’re going to have a severe form of coronavirus, it may also be related to these other things. ”, explains Nicolas Chevalier. In particular, let’s remember that massive obesity is a risk factor in itself.
“The risk mainly concerns diabetics on insulin and unbalanced, that is to say whose treatment is not necessarily suitable, and diabetics who have associated pathologies, cardiac or respiratory complications for example ”, explains Boris Hansel.
“In the event of infection, the glycemia will evolve strongly”
Thus, patients with type 2 diabetes must be particularly vigilant and closely monitor their blood sugar thanks to a reader allowing to measure the blood sugar level. After Emmanuel Macron’s announcement on Monday evening, the Francophone Diabetes Society invited diabetics to make sure they had their treatment for the two weeks of confinement planned. However, it is useless to stockpile insulin early in order not to cause a shortage, because even if the containment were to continue, pharmacies will continue to be supplied as usual and everyone will be able to get their prescriptions.
Diabetics are also invited to stay in close contact with their doctor via WhatsApp, SMS or telephone. “We know that in the event of infection, blood sugar levels will change sharply. That’s why you need to be in touch with your doctor to keep them informed and to know what to do next. We must keep this contact, without rushing into health structures; which would clog them. In addition, in these structures, there are additional risks of contamination ”, explains Stéphane Besançon, nutritionist and director of the NGO Santé Diabetes, at RFI.
They must also maintain a good nutritional balance and maintain regular physical activity. If this is a real challenge in this period of confinement, it is far from impossible. “There are many videos on the internet that offer small exercises to do at home without the need for a high level of physical training beforehand. This is important because it will help maintain the blood sugar balance and avoid gaining weight ”, reminds Nicolas Chevalier.
A site to support diabetics during confinement
As for patients who must continue to go to the work linker despite everything, it is essential that they be extra vigilant by wearing gloves and a mask if possible and by washing their hands with soap or hydroalcoholic gel as much as possible . “We have to apply the same preventions as for the population, with a little more vigilance ”says Boris Hansel.
Finally, concerning the symptoms linked to the coronavirus, they are the same for diabetics as for the rest of the population: fever, cough, muscular pain… However, as explained by the specialists, an unbalanced diabetes must be considered as a signal of alert. If this happens to you, contact your doctor.
In order to support diabetics in this difficult period, to answer their questions and provide them with information in real time, an online service has been set up. It is a collaborative project led by diabetes specialists. To find out more, visit covidiab.fr.
What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?
Worldwide, approximately 425 million people are believed to be affected by diabetes. In France, 5% of the population is affected. On a global scale, type 1 diabetes, nicknamed “lean diabetes”, affects around 10% of patients. It is caused by an autoimmune reaction that partially or completely destroys the beta cells in the pancreas and is used to synthesize insulin. Thus, the pancreas no longer secretes enough insulin. However, this hormone is essential for the use of blood glucose by the body as an energy source. The disease often appears suddenly in children or young adults without anyone really knowing why (the genetic factor is possible). It is manifested by excessive urination, intense thirst and an abnormally increased appetite despite the emaciation of the patients. They must regularly check their blood sugar and inject themselves with insulin several times a day.
In patients with type 2 diabetes or “fatty diabetes”, the beta cells that make insulin work poorly. The latter cannot regulate sugar properly in the body, which leads to an increase in blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes can have a genetic origin or occur, most often after 40 years, in overweight or obese people, who lack physical activity and / or suffer from an unbalanced diet. In 80% of cases, the disease could be avoided, insists the Diabete.fr site. Initially, the disease, which is progressive, is treated by hygieno-detetic measures. Then, the doctor prescribes anti-diabetic treatments. If the insulin deficiency remains too high, then insulin injections will be offered. However, for these treatments to work, the patient must combine them with a balanced diet and regular physical activity.
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