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Treating COVID-19 in patients with diabetes


Preventive measures

In the interest of maintaining good glucose control, patients also should monitor their glucose levels more frequently so that fluctuations can be detected early and quickly addressed with the appropriate medication adjustments, according to guidelines from the ADA and AACE. They should continue to follow a healthy diet that includes adequate protein and they should exercise regularly.

Patients should ensure that they have enough medication and testing supplies – for at least 14 days, and longer, if costs permit – in case they have to go into quarantine.

General preventive measures, such as frequent hand washing with soap and water, practicing good respiratory hygiene by sneezing or coughing into a facial tissue or bent elbow, also apply for reducing the risk of infection. Touching of the face should be avoided, as should nonessential travel and contact with infected individuals.

Patients with diabetes should always be current with their influenza and pneumonia shots.

Dr. Rettinger said that he always recommends the following preventative measures to his patients and he is using the current health crisis to reinforce them:

  • Eat lots of multicolored fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat yogurt and take probiotics to keep the intestinal biome strong and functional.
  • Be extra vigilant regarding sugars and sugar control to avoid peaks and valleys wherever possible.
  • Keep the immune system strong with at least 7-8 hours sleep and reduce stress levels whenever possible.
  • Avoid crowds and handshaking.
  • Wash hands regularly.

Possible therapies

There are currently no drugs that have been approved specifically for the treatment of COVID-19, although a vaccine against the disease is currently under development.

Dr. Gupta and his colleagues noted in their article that there have been reports of the anecdotal use of antiviral drugs such as lopinavir, ritonavir, interferon-beta, the RNA polymerase inhibitor remdesivir, and chloroquine.

However, Dr. Handelsman said that, as far as he knows, none of these drugs has been shown to be beneficial for COVID-19. “Some [providers] have tried Tamiflu, but with no clear outcomes, and for severely sick patients, they tried medications for anti-HIV, hepatitis C, and malaria, but so far, there has been no breakthrough.”

Dr. Cohen, Dr. Handelsman, Dr. Jellinger, Dr. Levy, and Dr. Rettinger are members of the editorial advisory board of Clinical Endocrinology News. Dr. Gupta and Dr. Wu, and their colleagues, reported no conflicts of interest.


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