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Diabetes & COVID-19

While we are learning more every day, there is still limited information on whether people with diabetes are more likely to get COVID-19 than the general public. Below is general guidance on COVID-19 as it relates to people with diabetes; however, we advise you consult your doctor for the most current guidance and recommendations on specific aspects of your treatment.

Helpful Links

 The American Diabetes Association

COVID-19 & Diabetes Flyer (PDF)

​Frequently Asked Questions

If I have diabetes, am I more likely to get COVID-19?

No, it does not appear people with diabetes are more likely to be infected.

If I get COVID-19, will I be sicker than those who do not have diabetes?

People with diabetes do face a higher chance of serious complications from COVID-19. If diabetes is well-managed, the risk of severe illness is similar to that of the general public. If diabetes is not well-managed and blood sugars fluctuate, the risk for diabetes-related complications increases. Having heart disease or other illnesses in addition to diabetes could worsen the effect of COVID-19, like other viral infections, due to your body’s ability to fight off an infection is compromised.

Viral infections can also increase inflammation in people with diabetes. This leads to above-target blood sugars, and could also contribute to complications.

When sick with a viral infection, people with diabetes face an increased risk of DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis), most common in people with type 1 diabetes. DKA can make it difficult to manage fluid intake and electrolyte levels – which is key to managing sepsis. Sepsis and septic shock are two serious complications experienced by those with COVID-19.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath – similar to what you may feel with influenza or a bad cold. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.

When you call:

  • Have your glucose reading available
  • Have your ketone reading available
  • Keep track of your fluid consumption and report
  • State your symptoms clearly
  • Ask your questions on how to manage your diabetes

Are the risks different for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

No, it does not appear COVID-19 affects people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes differently. Symptoms and risk varies by age, complications and how well diabetes is being managed.

Will COVID-19 impact my access to insulin and other diabetes supplies?

Manufacturers are reporting no impact on current manufacturing and distribution for insulin and supplies at this time, but that is subject to change. If you are struggling to pay for insulin or know someone who is, the American Diabetes Association has resources to help at InsulinHelp.org.

What can I expect when I arrive for my visit? What is the visitor policy?

To practice social distancing, clinics are assessing all visits to determine if appointments may be safely delayed and rescheduled. If your appointment is delayed, a member of your care team will contact you to discuss diabetes management, answer questions and reschedule the visit. Where possible, virtual care visits (telehealth) will be used to connect you with your care team from the safety of your own home.

While screening policies and procedures are subject to change as new information evolves, you will be screened upon entry to the building/hospital for your visit. View OU Medicine’s most recent visitor policy here.

*Disclaimer: The COVID-19 pandemic is an evolving challenge. The data and recommendations are changing rapidly as healthcare professionals attempt to best care for both unaffected and affected patients. For more information, please visit oumedicine.com/covid.*