If you are living with diabetes, what is the risk that the Covid-19 poses to you and how can you stay safe and healthy during the pandemic?
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Dr Gojka Roglic explains this.
Describe the risk posed by the Covid-19 to people living with diabetes.
Dr Roglic: Diabetes has been increasingly common in the past 30 years and there are now more than 400 million people living with diabetes in the world.
Unfortunately, about one-half of them do not know they have diabetes.
They have not been diagnosed.
Of those who are diagnosed, many do not have access to medicines nor health services that they need.
This pandemic has shown that people with diabetes are at higher risk than people without diabetes of having a severe illness of the Covid-19 and also dying of the Covid-19. The two main types of diabetes are type one and type two.
Type two is much more common. Type one seems to have a higher risk than type two of a severe Covid-19 illness and death.
Please explain how people living with diabetes can stay healthy during the pandemic.
Dr Roglic: The pandemic and the measures to contain it are quite a challenge for people with diabetes. The main treatment is physical activity and a healthy diet, and that might not be possible in the pandemic conditions.
The people with diabetes have to be creative about how to manage to continue the recommended physical activity and a healthy diet within the constraints posed by the pandemic. Also, the health system has to ensure that people get their medication regularly.
Explain how people living with diabetes can stay safe from the Covid-19.
Dr Roglic: Given that people with diabetes are considered a vulnerable group because of the higher risk of severe disease and a higher risk of death than people without diabetes, we strongly recommend all the measures for containing the pandemic and for protecting ourselves as individuals, such as hand-washing, wearing masks, ventilating indoor habitats, socialising with people preferably outdoors whenever possible and keeping the safe physical distance.
There is also vaccination, which is recommended for people with diabetes as a priority group for vaccinating. Vaccinations are encouraged and they have been proven to be safe and effective. – WHO