Diabetes AND COVID

Why are patients with diabetes considered more vulnerable to COVID-19?


The World Health Organization has categorized people with underlying conditions such as asthma, immunocompromised, and diabetes at greater risk for COVID-19.

Patients with asthma have a harder time of breathing when compared to someone who does not have asthma. Since COVID-19 is a virus transmitted thru respiratory secretions this puts patients with asthma in a high risk category.  Immunocompromised patients have little to no immune system placing these patients at greater risk of infection including the COVID-19 virus. These reasons put these populations at larger risk for COVID-19.

But why are diabetes patients considered high risk for COVID-19? 

There are two types of diabetes, Type I Diabetes and Type II Diabetes. Both involve a deficiency or absence of the body making insulin. In Type I Diabetes the body is making little to no insulin and patients must inject with the prescription insulin. In Type II Diabetes the body is not making enough insulin and are either adapting lifestyle changes, taking medications by mouth or injection and/or injecting insulin. When the body does not have enough insulin, the body’s sugars rise. This may increase inflammation within the body and resulting in an increased risk to infections.

According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes face a problem of having worse outcomes with COVID-19 and NOT a greater chance of contracting the virus. This is based on the cases in China which people with diabetes who contracted COVID-19 had higher rates of serious complications and death as compared to people without diabetes. In addition, if someone had additional underlying conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, the risk of serious complications from COVID-19 increased. When a person with diabetes contracts an infection, this increases inflammation and put’s a person at greater risk for further complications.

Some TIPS…..

Ensuring your diabetes is under control is critical. Things that may help control your diabetes is taking your medications as prescribed, checking your blood sugars levels regularly, diet and exercise, and talking to your doctor to optimize your sugar blood levels. If you have not been adhering to your medications it is critical you do to help control your blood sugar levels. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or need additional tips to help control your blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes and suspect that you have contracted COVID-19 immediately seek medical care.



  1. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters. Accessed on March 22, 2020
  2. American Diabetes Association. https://www.diabetes.org/coronavirus-covid-19. Accessed on March 22, 2020