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How COVID-19 may impact people with diabetes

Medical expert recommends extra precautions for group at high-risk for complications

File photo (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
File photo (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

More than 30 million people have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Doctors want to make sure those who have the disease are taking precautions because they may face more severe illness if they contract COVID-19.

“It has been shown that maybe patients with diabetes may have kidney issues and also lung issues and it just continues to compound their risk for COVID-19 and worse outcomes,” said Dr. Cecilia Lansang, of Cleveland Clinic.

Lansang said while it is not clear that those with diabetes are necessarily at greater risk for contracting COVID-19, uncontrolled diabetes weakens the immune system and may lead to complications and a more difficult recovery.

But, it all depends how well someone manages their diabetes and if they have any other underlying health issues.

She said people with diabetes should wear a mask, avoid gatherings, practice social distancing and, if possible, work from home to limit exposure.

“I do not think that there are necessarily other precautions that a patient with diabetes has to take, apart from what we discussed, except if there is a way to help them manage their blood sugars at this time, then that would be helpful,” Lansang said.

She adds, once a vaccine for COVID-19 is made available to the public, those with diabetes should consider getting it since they are considered more vulnerable.