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Blood Glucose Control is Important During COVID-19

Adam Bataineh

Chief Medical Officer

What is Coronavirus

Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that have been around for a long time. They can range from a fairly innocuous common cold, to more severe, like SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).

Extreme cases of coronavirus can lead to complications like organ inflammation, intense lung infection (pneumonia), kidney failure, heart failure and death.

The majority of people are able to overcome these viruses without complications. However, a small population of individuals, who normally have underlying health issues, experience critical progression of coronavirus.

Recently humans have been faced with a new coronavirus, called SARS-CoV-2 which causes the disease, COVID-19.

What is COVID-19

COVID-19 is poorly understood, but so far we understand that it causes typical flu-like symptoms — fever, coughing, difficulty breathing, tiredness, muscle/joint aches, sore throat, and less commonly, diarrhoea or vomiting. Some people have also experienced loss of smell and taste.

More than 80% of cases exhibit mild or moderate symptoms, and have not needed supportive care. Less than 14% of individuals have severe disease, and around 6% are critical (respiratory failure, septic shock, and/or multiple organ dysfunction/failure).

Based on the number of reported cases, 96.6% of infected people have survived. The survival rate is most likely higher than this as we can only verify the number of people who have died from COVID-19 —we are still unsure of the total number of cases. 

Symptoms usually manifest 3-7 days after exposure to the virus, but can take up to 14 days to appear — the virus can be passed on during the incubation period (not just when you have symptoms).

The majority of people are likely carrying the virus, without realising it, and for this reason, isolation and social distancing is crucial. 

Older people, immunocompromised and those with health conditions like diabetes appear to be more susceptible to developing severe cases of COVID-19.

Why are Diabetics 'High Risk"

The underlying issue with diabetes is high blood glucose. This has a ripple effect on other areas of health, including the ability to fight off infection. There are a number of ways that high blood glucose impedes recovery from COVID-19 and other viral infections. 

High blood glucose weakens immunity by directly inhibiting immune activity, as well as increasing harmful pro-inflammatory molecules that interfere with normal immune cell function. 

Another complication of high blood glucose is decreased blood flow. This impedes the movement of immune defences and nutrients to the site of injury. Immune defences and nutrients are crucial for healing, and help fight off infection.

A combination of impaired immune activity and motility can cause delayed recovery, which gives opportunistic infections the upper hand to proliferate and take over. 

Diabetes is also associated with other co-morbidities like heart disease and organ failure. Critical cases of COVID-19 appear to deteriorate the lungs, heart, kidneys and liver. Some type 2 diabetics may be more vulnerable to severe symptoms of COVID-19 as organ function could already be compromised. 

Prevention and blood glucose control is key

Prevention of COVID-19 is essential to avoid possible complications, and also to safeguard blood glucose control. Infection generates a cocktail of hormones (glucagon, cortisol and epinephrine) causing a surge in blood glucose levels, which makes management of diabetes infinitely more challenging.  

The bottom line is that high blood glucose causes poor healing and complications — not just for COVID-19, but for other viruses and health issues as well. Please remember that all your efforts in keeping blood glucose within a normal range are incredibly valuable for protecting you and your family during this pandemic, and in the future. Keep going! 

Find out more

If you’re curious to know how to keep blood glucose under control naturally, then download our mobile app on www.span.health, contact us at team@span.health , or book a consultation

Additionally, if you're having difficulty eating healthy or feeling particularly confused and anxious about COVID-19, please feel free to reach out. We'd love to offer reassurance and support during this particularly difficult time.

Take care everyone,

Rachel

Like what you’re hearing?

Stay tuned for more guides, to help you with your health journey.

If you’re interested in joining Span, download our mobile app on www.span.health, contact us at team@span.health , or book a consultation

I’m sure you’re curious about the science behind all this 🔬 Here are some recent medical publications about this topic:

"WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media ...." 3 Mar. 2020, https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19---3-march-2020.

Novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) - ECDC." 12 Mar. 2020, https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/RRA-sixth-update-Outbreak-of-novel-coronavirus-disease-2019-COVID-19.pdf.

Relationship between natural killer cell activity and glucose ...." 7 Jan. 2019, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jdi.13002.

JCM | Free Full-Text | Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and ... - MDPI." https://www.mdpi.com/2077-0383/8/12/2219/htm.

Endocrinology concepts for medical students - ResearchGate." 4 Aug. 2015, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11536435_Endocrinology_concepts_for_medical_students.

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