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Coronavirus: No increased risk of infection for "healthy" diabetes patients
The corona virus continues to spread. Although the infections are mild in many cases, people from certain risk groups in particular can become seriously ill. There is also an increased risk for diabetics - but not for everyone.
The novel corona virus SARS-CoV-2 and its consequences are currently THE dominant topic in all media. Many people are unsettled and worried, especially people with diabetes. They are portrayed as a risk group in the media, but a differentiation has to be made.
Stable glucose setting
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) writes that various underlying diseases such as diabetes seem to increase the risk of developing a severe COVID-19 disease regardless of age.
However, the non-profit organization diabetesDE - Deutsche Diabetes-Hilfe makes it clear in a current press release: An increased risk of developing COVID-19 and going through a difficult course only exists in people with diabetes who have additional comorbidities such as cardiovascular diseases to have.
The experts point out that "healthy" type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients with stable glucose control do not have an increased risk of infection. There is no reason for this target group to apply for sick leave as a preventive measure, as is currently the case in medical practices.
As stated in the communication, we rely on data from China for everything we currently know.
In a recent meta-analysis published in the journal "Clinical Research in Cardiology" with six studies in 1,527 COVID-19 patients, 17.1 percent had high blood pressure, 16.4 percent cardiovascular diseases and 9.7 percent diabetes mellitus.
The prevalence of high blood pressure and diabetes mellitus in a person infected with the virus was approximately the same as in the normal population. The severe course existed in patients with diabetes mellitus with additional comorbidities such as cardiovascular diseases.
"Due to the undifferentiated media reporting, we observe an increase in uncertainty among our patients in diabetological focus practices, which can sometimes reach a dangerous level," explains Dr. med. Jens Kröger, resident diabetologist in Hamburg-Bergedorf and CEO of diabetesDE - German Diabetes Aid.
"If even nurses or kindergarten teachers in the emergency groups who are in their mid-20s and type 1 women without complications ask for an AU, then it is time to counteract the misinformation publicly," said the doctor.
"If people with diabetes mellitus do not have any diseases of the upper respiratory tract and there is no suspicion of a corona infection, an incapacity to work is neither necessary nor possible," says Kröger.
“People with diabetes mellitus do not per se have an increased risk from the disease. An individual consideration for risk assessment is necessary. People with diabetes mellitus should strive to achieve a stable glucose metabolism, ”adds the expert.
Patients are currently also worried about whether they will receive their insulin, medication or pump needs on a quarterly basis.
“The quarterly need for people with diabetes is just as secure as that of other chronically ill people. There are no delivery bottlenecks, especially with insulin, and these are also not to be expected. There is no point in hoarding medication and aids here, ”explains Kröger.
Infection protection measures
Incidentally, the Robert Koch Institute's (RKI) infection control measures also apply to diabetics in general to protect themselves against the new SARS-CoV-2 virus:
- frequent, thorough hand washing with soap (20 - 30 seconds)
- Keep your distance from other people, avoid large crowds
- Adhere to the cough and sneeze label, i.e. turn away from the other person and cough or sneeze in the crook of your arm
- do not touch your face, especially if you have previously touched contaminated surfaces such as doorknobs or grab bars on buses
- stay at home, especially if you have cold symptoms
"Of course, it also makes sense for people with diabetes to think in advance about what to do in the event of suspected infection or home quarantine," warns Dr. Kroger.
The authorities order a quarantine if the patient has been in a risk area or has had contact with a person with COVID-19 within the last 14 days and is initially considered a precautionary measure to prevent the virus from spreading further.
The organization diabetesDE - German Diabetes Aid has put together advice and tips on its website so that people with diabetes are well prepared in the event of quarantine or even an infection with the new corona virus. (ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- diabetesDE - German Diabetes Aid: Young people with diabetes mellitus without complications do not belong to the risk group for COVID 19, (accessed: March 23, 2020), diabetesDE - German Diabetes Aid
- Robert Koch Institute (RKI): Information and support for people at higher risk for a severe COVID-19 disease course, (access: March 23, 2020), Robert Koch Institute (RKI)
- Bo Li, Jing Yang, Faming Zhao, Lili Zhi, Xiqian Wang, Lin Liu, Zhaohui Bi & Yunhe Zhao: Prevalence and impact of cardiovascular metabolic diseases on COVID-19 in China; in: Clinical Research in Cardiology, (published: 11.03.2020), Clinical Research in Cardiology
- diabetesDE - German Diabetes Aid: Diabetes, Coronavirus and Home Quarantine: Tips for the right preparation, (accessed: March 23, 2020), diabetesDE - German Diabetes Aid