In March, actor Tom Hanks announced that he had contracted COVID-19. He was especially lucky to make a full recovery, because he also suffers from Type 2 diabetes, a condition that makes people more likely to develop complications from the virus.
A study of 200 COVID-19 patients with pre-existing diabetes suggests that the disease presents a "fertile ground for the virus' inflammatory surge."
That then knocks diabetes out of control and results in "severe insulin resistance and severe hyperglycemia."
That, in turn, makes COVID's complications— such as renal failure and low blood pressure — more likely to lead to persistent problems, or even death.
Another study that included 952 COVID patients with diabetes found that those with the disease had higher rates of in-hospital death (1.1% without diabetes versus 11% with), acute respiratory distress syndrome (7.1% versus 21.4%), and heart injury (1.4% vs. 9.9%). Those with poorly controlled glucose levels also had higher rates of septic shock, kidney dysfunction, and stroke.
Getting diabetes under control can protect you from infection. If you do become infected, be aggressive about managing your glucose level.
Make and keep appointments (telemedicine and/or in person) with your diabetes doctor; monitor your blood sugar regularly; take your medication as prescribed; and push to get your A1C below 6.4%.
In addition, aim for 60 minutes of exercise five days a week, and avoid highly processed foods and red meats.
Also, stockpile two months' worth of diabetes medications, insulin, and supplies. If you get sick, you'll need them.