Diabetes and COVID-19: Tips to staying healthy during a pandemic.
Post by: Gwenyth Wagner, DNP, APRN, Adult Nurse Practitioner, Diabetes Clinic
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new health concerns for all of us but even more for the individual with diabetes.
According to the American Association of Diabetes, approximately just over 10 percent of the American population has diabetes. Nearly 1.6 million people have type I diabetes, a condition in which your pancreas does not make insulin. Approximately 32.6 million Americans have type II diabetes, which is characterized by insulin resistance and/or your body’s inability to make all the insulin that it needs. Insulin is needed to help break down and store glucose.
Having diabetes does not necessarily increase your risk for catching the virus but according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it does increase the risk of having a more serious illness should you contract COVID-19.
These tips have been recommended as measures to take to stay healthy during a pandemic:
1. Continue taking your diabetes pills and insulin as usual.
It is important to keep your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol under control so you can keep healthy. Continue taking your prescribed medications!
Always try to have at least one month’s supply of your medication available to you, including insulin. If you need refills or are having difficulty obtaining your medication, please contact your provider. We do not want you going without your medications! The only exception to this advice is if you have nausea or vomiting that prevents you from eating. In that case, you need to check your blood sugars and follow your health care providers “sick day” instructions.
2. Test your blood sugar and keep track of the results, as directed by your health care provider.
Notify your health care provider if you have unusual lows or high blood sugar results, or you are not keeping your blood sugars well controlled.
Recommended by American Diabetes Association (ADA)
A1C – < 7%
Fasting plasma glucose – 80-130 mg/dL
Post prandial plasma glucose – < 180 mg/dL
(measured 1-2 hours after a meal)
3. Stay Active
Regular exercise can help your body use insulin more effectively, help control your blood pressure and improves your mood and sense of well-being. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of walking or an exercise you enjoy, five days a week.
4. Protect Your Immunity
You have heard these instructions repeatedly by now but here they are again. Wash your hands frequently, avoid large crowds and wear your face mask when running errands or when indoors with individuals other than your immediate family members. Also, this is a good time to remind you to get your flu shot!
5. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Avoid those high carbohydrate comfort foods! Include foods that promote health and strengthen the immune system. See the following chart for suggestions from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
6. Call your health care provider if you have concerns about your condition or feel sick.
We cannot control everything about the virus, but we can control how we take care of ourselves. Make your health a priority and do not neglect taking your medications, eating properly, or keeping your regular appointments. If needed, a telehealth appointment can be set for you if you cannot come to the clinic in person. At Health Partnership Clinic we are here to help you keep healthy and manage your diabetes during this difficult season. If you are need an appointment with your regular provider or the diabetes clinic, please call the clinic at 913-648-2266.