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Diabetes patients cancelling appointments amid fear of catching Covid-19

A rise in the number of diabetes patients cancelling their routine visits to clinics has occurred due to fears of contracting Covid-19, a US study has found. 

According to a comprehensive evidence summary on diabetes and Covid-19 produced by the HSE, “fear of contracting Covid-19 has led to an increasing number of diabetic patients cancelling their routine visits to diabetes clinics”. 

“This may lead to worsening glycaemic and blood pressure control, further predisposing these vulnerable patients to Covid-19 infections.”

The document outlines how individuals with diabetes are at greater risk of developing Covid-19 infection. 

Furthermore, diabetes patients have “an increased risk for medical complications including death”. 

Because of the risk factors, the HSE recommends “increased vigilance and testing in outpatient diabetes and general medicine clinics for Covid-19”. 

“It is recommended that patients with diabetes should pay intensive attention to reduce the risk of serious disease or fatality; and should follow the general prevention advice given by authorities vigilantly to avoid infection with Covid-19.”

The document notes that it is currently unclear whether there are different rates of Covid-19 infection and severity of infection in Type 1 versus Type 2 diabetes. 

“It has been suggested that there probably isn’t much difference in how the virus plays out in people with type 1 versus type 2 diabetes, although people who already have diabetes-related health problems are more susceptible to worse outcomes if they contract COVID-19 compared to people with diabetes who are otherwise healthy, regardless of what type of diabetes they have.”

Studies have shown that many patients with Type 2 diabetes are obese and it is accepted that obesity is a risk factor for more severe Covid-19 infection. 

One study, the HSE document states, noted that during the influenza A H1N1 epidemic in 2009 the disease was more severe and had a longer duration in about twofold more patients with obesity who were then treated in intensive care units compared with the background population. 

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