People with diabetes at higher risk of amid pandemic

NHS England is calling on people with diabetes to access the help available to them after new research showed that those living with the condition are at significantly higher risk of dying with COVID-19.

New studies (due to be published this week) reveal that people living with type I diabetes are at three and a half times the risk, and people living with type 2 are at double the risk of dying in hospital with the virus, compared to people without diabetes, the organisation said.

Data also shows that overall the death rate for people with diabetes doubled during the early stage of the pandemic, and that high blood glucose levels and obesity also raise the risk.

Overall, 7,466 of those who died in hospitals in England had type II and 365 who died had type I diabetes, but the research also suggests that the threat for those under 40 with type I or type II diabetes is very low, with no recorded deaths in those under 20.

It is thought that the risk to people with diabetes and the virus is in line with the extra risk seen in other infectious conditions such as pneumonia, NHS England said.

As such, a dedicated helpline has also been introduced, together with Diabetes UK, Novo Nordisk and Insulet, to advise those who need help with insulin.

Also, video consultations and online appointments, as well as routine discussions with GPs, are among a range of other measures that the NHS has adopted so that diabetes care can continue throughout the pandemic.

Patients are also to receive additional support from online education services for type I and type II diabetes to help them to manage their condition better.

20th May 2020

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