Virtual Diabetes Care and Wellness Coaching for High Risk Patients during COVID-19

Virtual Diabetes Care and Wellness Coaching for High Risk Patients during COVID-19

By Cynthia Thaik, M.D., FACC

How Does COVID-19 Affect People with Diabetes?

With so much misinformation and pseudoscience out there, a lot of people are struggling to get the real facts: how does COVID-19 affect people with diabetes? The COVID-19 outbreak is a hazard for literally everyone who breathes, but it is widely known to affect two groups more severely than others. Firstly, it is particularly dangerous for elderly people. Secondly, the novel coronavirus has particularly grave effects on those with chronic diseases or chronic conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, hypertension, cancer, or diabetes. What does this respiratory illness do to diabetics and how can disease management methods be altered to prevent this from occurring?

 

COVID-19 Outbreak Guidance for People with Diabetes

All diabetic people are to a greater or lesser extent immunocompromised. This means it’s harder for diabetics to fight any kind of virus. Some experts think that the virus might thrive in high blood glucose environments. Additionally, the low level of chronic inflammation that diabetics experience makes it harder for the body’s immune system to rapidly mobilize a healing response to any viral infection. It is thought that the rate of diabetics dying from COVID-19 is over double that of general mortality rates. The WHO’s tentative general mortality rate from COVID-19 is 3.4%. However, the CDC’s rate for those suffering from diabetes is 7.3%.

 

  • The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with type 1 diabetes who are sick check for ketones when their blood glucose levels are over 240 milligrams per deciliter, every 4-6 hours, or both.
  • Anyone with type 2 diabetes who is experiencing signs of COVID-19 (shortness of breath, a persistent dry cough, or fever) should contact their doctor as soon as possible.
  • Similarly, anyone with gestational diabetes should contact their doctor if they have any concerns about reducing their risk of infection. Gestational diabetes sufferers are at particularly high risk of complications if they contracted the virus while pregnant.
  • It is especially important that people with diabetes and those living in households with people with diabetes follow the general advisories about preventing proliferation of the novel coronavirus. Thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water, avoiding close contact with others, staying at home as much as possible, and avoiding touching your face are all recommended.
  • In particular, diabetics should take special care to maintain an adequate intake of food and fluids, limit their consumption of red meats, reduce stress levels, get at least 7 hours of sleep a night to keep up immunity, and try to keep their blood sugar levels under control.

 

Virtual Diabetes Care and Wellness Coaching for High Risk Patients during COVID-19

There are many elderly or infirm diabetes sufferers in California who have been cut off or severely obstructed from meeting with healthcare professionals as a result of the stay-at-home order issued by local governments. However, there are virtual diabetes care programs that can help those living with diabetes to manage their conditions more effectively. Wearable remote monitoring equipment can monitor blood sugar and pick up on any unusual fluctuations in readings. There are also telehealth options being extended to patients in need. Virtual care and digital health coaching are also being offered to help with conditions and concerns such as high blood pressure, heart failure, cardiac disorders, and blood sugar concerns. In times of social isolation, the contact provided by telehealth services can also counter mental health problems such as depression. Medicare does cover remote monitoring services, as do several PPO plans, so there is no reason not to talk to your healthcare professional about it today. Email staff@drcynthia.com to request a consultation.

About the author

Dr. Cynthia Thaik, M.D., FACC is a Harvard-trained cardiologist serving the greater Los Angeles community at her holistic health center in Burbank and Valencia, CA. Dr. Thaik is the author of Your Vibrant Heart: Restoring Health, Strength, and Spirit from the Body’s Core. To learn more about Dr. Thaik or the Holistic Healing Heart Center, or to schedule an appointment, please contact info@drcynthia.com or call (818) 842-1410.