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Effective Monday, July 19, 2021, the following NOH/OMG office locations will no longer provide on-site blood draws: Westlake, Lorain, Olmsted Falls and Dewhurst. Click here for the nearest lab service location. 

Why Diabetes and COVID-19 is A Risky Combo for Some People

January 28, 2021

Researchers say that if you’re Black or Hispanic and coping with Type 1 diabetes, you don’t want to collide with COVID-19.

A University of Mississippi Medical Center study found that Black people with both Type 1 diabetes and COVID-19 are about four times as likely to be hospitalized for life-threatening diabetic ketoacidosis as someone who is white. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition. It occurs when a Type 1 diabetes patient’s blood sugars are very high, but their insulin levels are very low.

In Hispanic patients with both COVID-19 and Type 1 diabetes, it’s about twice the risk, the study showed. So, let’s take a look at what researchers found and why it’s so significant.

What The Study Found

Researchers collected data between April and August 2020 from 52 clinical sites in the United States.

They included 180 people with Type 1 diabetes and laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in their analysis. 44% were non-Hispanic whites, 31% Black, and 26% Hispanic.

They found that more than half (55%) of the Black people in the study and 33% of the Hispanic people presented with diabetic ketoacidosis compared to only 13% of the white people who took part.  

What’s The Significance?

Previous studies have pointed to significant evidence that Type 2 diabetics are more at risk for worse COVID-19 outcomes that include hospitalization, intubation and death, but the study’s lead author says his findings demonstrate that patients with less common Type 1 diabetes also brings about increased risk. Lack of glucose monitoring is linked to worse outcomes with COVID.

What You Can Do

Both COVID-19 and the flu are contagious respiratory illnesses that present with similar symptoms. Both viruses can impact the elderly and those with certain chronic conditions, such as diabetes, the hardest.

In addition to getting a flu and COVID-19 vaccine, other things you can do to protect yourself from both viruses include, wearing a mask, frequently washing your hands, and maintaining a safe distance from people when you go out.

To get the flu shot, contact your North Ohio Heart/Ohio Medical Group primary care physician, or, if you don’t have one, you can find a doctor online. You can also get the latest information on the state of diabetes in our infographic.

In the end, it’s important for everyone to monitor their blood glucose levels — not just diabetics. You can learn more about your blood sugar and how to control it in our guide “Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers.” You’ll also find out the 15 things you can do to reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.