How COVID-19 Impacts People With Diabetes, Heart Disease And Other Illnesses

How COVID-19 Impacts People With Diabetes, Heart Disease And Other Illnesses

COVID-19 impacts people with pre-existing health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, asthma and lung disease more severely when infected. Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash.

As COVID-19 coronavirus cases rise in the U.S. and abroad, the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) cautioned that people with pre-existing health conditions are at higher risk of severe illness and death if infected. Diabetes, heart disease, asthma and lung disease were among the conditions highlighted in a report by Kron4.

A recent study of the mortality rate from COVID-19 in Italy found that more than 99 percent of the deaths were people with prior medical conditions, Bloomberg reported.

According to statistics from the American Diabetes Association (ADA), 34.2 Americans had the disease in 2018. The CDC said heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women, regardless of race and ethnicity, in the U.S. Nearly 18.2 million American adults have the most common heart disease, Coronary Artery Disease (CAD).

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This information is underscored by the American Heart Association’s fact sheet on how heart disease and diabetes are intertwined.

Since the coronavirus can affect one’s respiratory tract, people with lung disease and asthma can also experience complications. The CDC states: “People with asthma may be at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.  COVID-19 can affect your respiratory tract (nose, throat, lungs), cause an asthma attack, and possibly lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease.”

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On its website, the ADA states explained while having the aforementioned illnesses don’t increase chances of contracting the disease, they do cause a higher risk of complications once infected. The ADA webpage about COVID-19 coronavirus states:

“In general, people with diabetes are more likely to experience severe symptoms and complications when infected with a virus. If diabetes is well-managed, the risk of getting severely sick from COVID-19 is about the same as the general population.

“When people with diabetes do not manage their diabetes well and experience fluctuating blood sugars, they are generally at risk for a number of diabetes-related complications. Having heart disease or other complications in addition to diabetes could worsen the chance of getting seriously ill from COVID-19, like other viral infections, because your body’s ability to fight off an infection is compromised.”

However, they did offer hope, adding, ““If diabetes is well managed, the risk of getting severely sick from COVID-19 is about the same as the general population.”

Stating that COVID-19 is more serious than the season flu, Kron4 adivsed the following:

“During this ongoing outbreak, it can help to have your doctor’s phone number ready to go, as well as your insurance company’s. The ADA suggests having a full supply of your diabetes supplies, and to try and request a 3-month prescription from your insurance company if you don’t already have one. 

If you are prone to low blood sugar, have simple carbohydrates ready to go like juice, candy or popsicles. Also, double-check that your emergency low blood sugar glucagon pen is not expired.

If you get sick, call your endocrinologist as soon as you can for coronavirus testing or advice on how to manage your diabetes while ill.”