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How are people living with diabetes affected by the COVID-19 crisis?

Hello, I’m Dr. Ralph Abraham, consultant in diabetes and endocrinology at the London Diabetes Centre.

Today’s webinar is all about how the COVID-19 pandemic affects people who have to live with diabetes. Not only are we all terrified by the implications of a viral infection that can be lethal, but for those of you who have diabetes, or other illnesses, your ability to survive is also reduced. I’m currently at an age where just breathing puts me at high risk. So I am well aware now how most of my patients are being made to feel. It’s not nice.

We do not know if being an obedient patient with a macular glucose readings is good for you, or giving you some kind of super protection. But we would like to believe that. What you can do to help yourself is simple, it doesn’t cost a lot of money and we hope it’s effective. Make sure you have enough of your medication, yelled for help if you’re running out. Do not ask for trouble, by dealing with the lockdown by eating a litre of ice cream, it really isn’t good for your glucose levels in your blood and it could provoke reduced immunity.

Stay calm, being stressed out does not help and may hinder and if it happens, and you cannot do much about it, again, ask for help, it’s available. Exercise regularly, it’s wonderful for diabetes and may also help keep you calm. Most of all, be vigilant. Illness or COVID-19 infection can silently put your diabetes out of joint. Do not assume your diabetes is a silent partner, it plays up when things go wrong. If you have type two diabetes treated with tablets, you may need more medication. If you take insulin you may need to increase your doses. If you take any of the commonly prescribed SGLT two inhibitors that could be drugs with the names [INAUDIBLE 02:40], you may need to stop these and seek medical help.

Remember that unexpected symptoms like thirst, nausea, vomiting, tiredness, blurred vision. All may signal rapidly deteriorating diabetes. Have you checked your blood glucose? Do you know about ketones? Should these be checked? Am I asking questions and getting a blank response? You should know about these things. Most important, for a complicated metabolic disease that requires a PhD, I’m experienced to manage it properly. Can you get good advice and help when you need it?

The doctors and nurses at the London Diabetes Centre are available for phone or video consultations and advice when you need it. You can contact us during working hours on 08000483330 for an appointment or medication.

If you have diabetes, high blood pressure or obesity take COVID-19 very seriously. Follow self isolation measures implicitly and do not take risks. Remember, the virus can lie on surfaces, so wearing gloves if you touch door handles is sensible. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds frequently throughout the day. Make sure your metabolic measurements, your weight, your blood pressure, your glucose levels are all under control. And make sure you have adequate supplies of all your medication. Stay healthy, eat sensibly, try an exercise and stay cool. Thank you for listening to me.

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