Covid-19’s influence on the life of a diabetic and vice versa
So we all probably know about the Covid-19 pandemic nowadays. The Covid-19 pandemic is a burden for many groups of people. Including people in Central America with diabetes. In this article I am going to try to explain why this is a problem. This article has several aspects: firstly, the burden that diabetes mellitus patients experience due to the pandemic, secondly, the possibly increased vulnerability of diabetes mellitus patients to Covid-19, and finally a converging conclusion.
We’ll start off with the increased burden that diabetes mellitus patiënts have due to the pandemic. Most patients of type 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus rely heavily on taking medication on a daily basis. In almost the whole of Central America, medications for diabetes mellitus type 1 and 2 are available in some way, but the Covid-19 may propose some difficulties in obtaining these medications in a proper manner.
Researchers from Belgium wrote in an article that from the whole of Central America, Cuba and Honduras were the only countries from which they did not receive the report of one or more of the challenges or fears related to shortage or lack of medicines and medical supplies, or difficulties to access health services. In this research, it shows that almost all countries in Central America have problems with maintaining healthcare services for diabetes patients. Even before the pandemic began, it is estimated that only 65 to 80 percent of all diabetics in central America had access to free laboratory testing, appropriate care and medicines. Covid-19 results in local and sometimes national lockdowns, which can make access to the right medical care even more difficult. Not only the lockdowns cause a lack of accessibility, but also when there is no complete lockdown: anyone who has any form of complaints is expected to stay at home and should not have contact is the general advice of the WHO. This will ensure that not completely healthy and fit groups such as diabetics have the chance of hardly having access to the right medical care.This all combined with the observation that latin america is one of the regions with the greatest challenges for diabetes globally means that at the very least attention must be paid to this problem, by local governments or any other organisation.
Enough about the possible decreased accessibility to healthcare for diabetes patients for now. A lot of people have asked about the influence of Diabetes Mellitus on a Covid-19 infection. Covid-19 is certainly more dangerous for diabetes patients than for people without diabetes. First, it might be useful to show some relevant statistics (more, more):
- Of all people who tested positive for COVID-19, about 12% have diabetes. They are primarily 75 and older, older than the people who tested positive for COVID-19 without diabetes.
- Of all people who tested positive for COVID-19 and were admitted to hospital, 17% have diabetes.
- Of all people who tested positive for COVID-19 and died, 22% had diabetes.
The figures above show that more people with diabetes end up in a hospital than people without diabetes. Also, relatively more people with diabetes die from the coronavirus than people without diabetes. But of course that doesn’t say everything: there are also people with diabetes who are not at an increased risk. This last observation might be unsatisfying for the ones of you who would like unambiguous information, but hey that’s science.
Then what part of diabetes makes people more vulnerable for infectious diseases like Covid-19? There’s not enough room in this post to extensively explain that here. If you haven’t read our last blogpost by Joost I would highly recommend it! It explains why people with diabetes have a higher risk of infectious diseases, that also means Covid-19.
Next week we’re going to talk about diabetes and its relation to diseases carried by mosquitoes. Please let us know if you have any questions you have about that subject already!