Diabetes

Three Ways to Protect Yourself from Diabetes and COVID-19

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Although anyone can become infected by the coronavirus, COVID-19, some people are more susceptible to severe illness.

Everyone should be socially distancing, wearing mask, washing their hands and staying away from crowds. Does being diabetic require you to take more precautions that someone who isn’t at high risk?

“It is important to make sure your diabetes is under control, but during the COVID-19 pandemic it’s even more critical,” Dr. Shivani Toma, Houston Methodist’s endocrinologist, says. The higher your risk of getting COVID-19 complications or severe diabetes if you don’t control it, the greater them.

You should follow all the precautions necessary to prevent the spread COVID-19 in diabetics. However, you also need to ensure that you are closely monitoring your blood sugar and following healthy habits to keep it under control.

These are three ways you can ensure your diabetes is well managed to reduce your chance of being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Make healthy choices even if you are stuck at home

You may have been stuck at home longer than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which could make it easier to snack and move less. This can lead to higher glucose levels.

Dr. Toma says that any lifestyle changes or stressors could make managing diabetes more difficult.

Here are some tips to help you stay on track when you’re at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Make sure you take your medication on time and consistently. If your routine is disrupted, it may become even more difficult to remember to take your insulin or medications. Set timers to remind you of when you have to take your medication, keep it near you, and make sure it is part of your daily meal plan (if not already).
  • Keep active. Fitness classes and gyms aren’t as safe now as they were prior to the pandemic. It is difficult to stay active. It’s possible. You can still get in a good workout by going for a walk or running outside. This virus will be around for a while so you might consider buying fitness equipment such as an exercise machine or lighter weights.
  • Limit snacking. You can’t beat extra time at home to do a few baking projects or to make a quick snack. While you should avoid snacking, don’t stop eating carbs. High-carb snacks can lead to unpredictable blood sugar spikes which are difficult to manage.

Monitor your blood sugar closely

You can do it at home and self-monitoring your glucose levels is an important part in the day to day management of diabetes.

Dr. Toma explains that regular monitoring of your blood sugar can help you spot spikes and trends that could indicate that your diabetes is getting out-of-control. Uncontrolled diabetes can increase your risk of developing COVID-19. It’s important that you consult your endocrinologist immediately if your blood sugar is out of control.

You can also monitor your blood sugar to keep track of how you are adapting to this pandemic.

Do not skip checking-ups with your diabetes team

 

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Whether you are facing a pandemic or not it is important to check in with your diabetes team regularly.

Dr. Toma says that there are many factors that can affect your glucose levels. Your blood sugar levels can fluctuate significantly even within three months. Your doctor can help you determine how well managed your diabetes is. It also helps to know if any lifestyle or medication changes are necessary.

Fear of contracting COVID-19, don’t hesitate to visit your doctor. Houston Methodist doctors offices take extra precautions to ensure your safety and health.

  • Screening all patients upon arrival and when booking appointments
  • While providing patient care, wearing masks or other personal protective equipment
  • To disinfect equipment and surfaces, use enhanced cleaning and sanitation processes
  • Social distancing can be achieved by redesigning check-in and waiting areas

 

Next steps:

  • Houston Methodist has a team of diabetic specialists who can help you manage your diabetes effectively.

Are you concerned that you might have COVID-19

  • You can talk to a Virtual Urgent Care provider 24 hours a day if you have COVID-19 symptoms. You will be able to determine if you need testing and then advise you where to go.

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