Diabetes and COVID-19: Three Patient Cases

This transcript has been edited for clarity.

This is my second video on the coronavirus pandemic and how it affects people with diabetes. I will try to do these videos routinely as new information becomes available.

Let’s first tell our patients not to panic. I know these are unsettling times, but everyone needs to put into perspective the fact that most people—both young and old—don’t die from this disease. We all need to practice the principles we are being taught from the CDC and other credible sources to prevent the spread of the virus.

Does Diabetes Increase Risk?

We know far too little about the separate risk for people with diabetes. We all know that older people are at increased risk, particularly those with heart disease, but we don’t know the additional risk that is conferred by having diabetes. In particular, we don’t know the additional risk in a patient with well-controlled type 1 diabetes.

It is my personal opinion that my patients with well-controlled type 1 diabetes are not at increased risk for novel coronavirus infection. Or if they are, the increase in risk is small. I do know that managing type 1 diabetes during illness can be a challenge, and patients should be prepared with sick-day rules, as I discussed in my last video.

However, I don’t think that my patients with well-controlled type 1 or type 2 diabetes are immunosuppressed. Cardiovascular disease and other complications may increase risk, but I tell my patients to simply follow all of the recommendations that are provided for everyone else.

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