COVID-19 and Diabetes

When people with diabetes develop a viral infection, it can be harder to treat due to fluctuations in blood glucose levels and, possibly, the presence of diabetes complications

Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as diabetes, heart disease and asthma) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the COVID-19 virus. When people with diabetes develop a viral infection, it can be harder to treat due to fluctuations in blood glucose levels and, possibly, the presence of diabetes complications. There appear to be two reasons for this. Firstly, the immune system is compromised, making it harder to fight the virus and likely leading to a longer recovery period. Secondly, the virus may thrive in an environment of elevated blood glucose.

Like any other respiratory disease, COVID-19 is spread through air-droplets that are dispersed when an infected person talks, sneezes or coughs. The virus can survive from a few hours up to a few days depending on the environmental conditions. It can be spread through close contact with an infected person or by contact with air droplets in the environment (on a surface for example) and then touching the mouth or nose (hence the common advice circulating on hand hygiene and social distancing).


If you have diabetes:

  • Prepare in case you get ill.

  • Make sure you have all relevant contact details to hand in case you need them.

  • Pay extra attention to your glucose control.

  • If you do show flu-like symptoms (raised temperature, cough, difficulty breathing), it is important to consult a healthcare professional. If you are coughing up phlegm, this may indicate an infection so you should seek medical support and treatment immediately.

  • Any infection is going to raise your glucose levels and increase your need for fluids, so make sure you can access a sufficient supply of water.

  • Make sure you have a good supply of the diabetes medications you need. Think what you would need if you had to quarantine yourself for a few weeks.

  • Make sure you have access to enough food.

  • Make sure you will be able to correct the situation if your blood glucose drops suddenly.

  • If you live alone, make sure someone you can rely on knows you have diabetes as you may require assistance if you get ill.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments of Sri Lanka have restricted the movement of people, confining them to the home environment. This can increase more glucose due to less activity, Home exercise are more encouraged.


Reference/Source: InternInternational Diabetes Federation.ational Diabetes Federation.


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