What is Diabetes?
Glucose is in your food and drinks and ideally gives your cells energy. Insulin is a hormone produced in your body to guide the glucose into your cells to provide that energy. Diabetes is a disease in which your glucose level (your blood sugar) becomes too high due to your body’s inability to make insulin or use it effectively. Without enough or any insulin, the glucose you ingest stays in your blood.
There are two types of diabetes and a state of prediabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes: the body does not make insulin.
- Type 2 diabetes: the body either does not make insulin or is ineffective in its use. Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes.
- Prediabetes: the body’s blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be called diabetes. People with prediabetes are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Gestational diabetes: this form of diabetes only occurs in pregnant women.
Too much glucose in your blood causes serious health problems and can increase the risk of complications from other health issues you may have or contract, such as COVID-19. Diabetes can damage your eyesight, harm your kidneys, and cause permanent nerve damage and pain. Diabetes has also been shown to cause heart disease and stroke. In serious cases, amputation (removal) of a limb (foot or leg) is required. Blood tests are required to see if you have diabetes.
Diabetes Awareness Month
More than 34 million people in the United States are living with diabetes. November is National Diabetes Month. The goal is for individuals, communities and organizations across the country to work together to bring awareness to diabetes. The focus of 2020’s Diabetes Awareness Month is taking care of children and teens living with diabetes.
Diabetes is one of the most common chronic (long-term) conditions in children in the United States. Approximately 193,000 children and teens under 20 years old are suffering from diabetes. Young people living with diabetes need extra support with their diabetes care and management.
Developing a plan to manage their diabetes as well as working with their healthcare team to change the plan as needed is important. Children need to develop these healthy habits and a plan so they know how to manage their diabetes into adulthood.
You can find more information on Diabetes Awareness Month and how to create a plan for your child at both the National Institutes of Health and the American Diabetes Association.
The Link Between Diabetes and COVID-19
If you get COVID-19 and have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, your risk of being admitted to the hospital, having complications and death are higher than those without diabetes. You may also have worse symptoms. Among those deaths from COVID-19 in 2020, 40% were among those living with diabetes.
Because this is a new disease, the reason is still unknown. One reason may be due to the inflammation diabetes causes in the body. When your body is already suffering from inflammation, it has a harder time fighting infections. Another reason may be that viruses also cause inflammation, and coupled with diabetic inflammation, the body cannot handle that amount and may go into shock. Too much acid may also build up in your bloodstream.
Ways to protect yourself include:
- Stick to your self-care diabetes plan
- Regularly monitor your blood sugar and keep it within normal range
- Do not skip doctor’s appointments
- Be sure you have stocked at least one week’s worth of insulin, medications and other supplies
- Stock up on electrolyte drinks, simple carbohydrates, canned and dry healthy foods
- Wear a mask at all times in public and when someone in your home is sick
- Keep a six foot distance from other people and only leave the house if you have to
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Keep hand sanitizer with you at all times and use it frequently
- Do not touch any part of your face, especially if you have not washed your hands first
Talk with your doctor or a healthcare professional right away if you think you might have COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive. Talk with your doctor as well about how to manage your diabetes during this pandemic, especially if it is not under control. Jai Medical Systems has the support and tools you need to stay healthy. Call our Customer Service Representatives at 1-888-JAI-1999 to learn more.