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Diabetics at higher risk in pandemic

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 7:27 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -

Certain individuals are at higher risk of serious complications, should they contract Covid-19. In this week's Medical Monday, Kathy McCarty speaks with officials about how the virus can affect a diabetic's health.

When it comes to contracting Covid-19, diabetics run the same risk as the general population. Dr. Rashid Cheema says it’s after a diabetic has come down with the virus that their risk is increased.

“There have been studies which have shown that if a diabetic patient contracts Covid, their risk of dying is 2.5 times higher than the non-diabetic patient. And studies have confirmed that Type 2 diabetic patients are definitely at much higher risk of worse outcomes,” says Dr. Rashid Cheema.

Certain factors increase the risk for Type 2 diabetics, who are comparatively older than Type 1 diabetics. Those factors include high blood pressure and obesity.

“Studies have shown that patients who have a higher BM, generally greater than 30 or 35, have poor outcomes with Covid, compared to patients who have a healthy weight with BMI less than 25,” he says.

Diabetics also tend to have compromised immune systems.

Cheema says “Their kidneys can give up, their liver can give up. Their heart can give up because of the oxygenation issue, which is the primary problem with Covid, as it affects lungs by causing pneumonia-like illness.”

Jennifer Smith, an RN, stressed the importance of managing diabetes, through diet and exercise, following CDC guidelines when in public, and being sure they have necessary medical supplies. She has tips, should they feel ill.

“They should notify their provider, of course. They should check their sugars more frequently, because when you’re ill, your blood glucose tends to go up because of the stress on your body. They should make sure that they’re drinking plenty of fluids and staying hydrated,” says Jennifer Smith.

Dr. Cheema says given current circumstances, diabetics should not delay followups with their primary care providers.

Kathy McCarty, NewsSource 8

Copyright 2020 WAGM. All rights reserved.

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