COVID-19 alert for diabetics: High blood sugar levels increase your risk of death from this infection

COVID-19 alert for diabetics: High blood sugar levels increase your risk of death from this infection

A new study reveals that people suffering from diabetes are at a higher risk of dying from COVID-19. Read on to know more and find ways to keep this condition at bay.

Written by Saswati Sarkar |Updated : April 22, 2020 9:03 AM IST

Coronavirus Alert for Diabetics: New research finds that people with diabetes have a high mortality risk from COVID-19 infection. The study, published in Science Advances, notes that this is because of the excessive production of immune cells in their lungs. According to the researchers, COVID-19 infection increases glucose metabolism through a process called cytokine storm, triggering overproduction of immune cells. This hits diabetes patients harder than others. They also found that people living with diabetes are prone to be infected by a more severe strain of the novel coronavirus.


Cytokines are proteins that activate our immune cells. When someone is affected flu or coronavirus, there is a steep rise in the numbers of cytokine cells. When the novel coronavirus sneaks into your lungs, these cells invite your immune cells to fight the virus, triggering a localised inflammation. This condition can be fatal especially for diabetes patients who are likely to catch a more severe strain of the novel coronavirus.


Diabetes is an endocrinological disorder characterised by uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Our blood glucose level is regulated by the hormone insulin produced by immune cells in the pancreas. Diabetes sets in when this organ fails to produce insulin. This is known as type 1 diabetes, which mostly affects people in their childhood. In type 2 diabetes, your body doesn't make sufficient amount of insulin or is unable to utilize it efficiently, leading to a spike in your blood sugar levels. This condition can be managed well and even prevented with lifestyle modifications. Here, we tell you, how you can keep this condition at bay.

Also Read

More News

Keep your weight in check

Your extra kilos could be the worst culprits behind type 2 diabetes. According to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, excessive body weight ups your risk of developing this condition by 20 to 40 times. This study also suggests that overweight people should aim to shed 7 to 10 per cent of their extra kilos as this will cut back their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by half. Also, reams of research have associated abdominal fat with death risk from diabetes. An active lifestyle including regular workouts and healthy eating is the key to ward off the danger of type 2 diabetes.

Be foodwise

Scientific evidence suggests that including whole wheat in your meals protect you against diabetes. Whole grains don't contain a magical nutrient that fights diabetes and improves health. These foods, rich in bran and fibre, help in the slow release of sugar and insulin in the blood. This prevents the onset of type 2 diabetes. Moreover, the high quantity of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals make them a strong weapon against this condition. Healthy polyunsaturated fats found in liquid nuts and seeds can help also reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. Lastly and importantly, choose fish and poultry over red and processed meet.

Move more every day

You need to work out your muscles regularly. This will increase their efficiency in utilizing insulin and absorbing glucose, relieving the burden on the cells that make this hormone. A simple workout like brisk walk can reduce your vulnerability to type 2 diabetes by 30 per cent, finds two studies: Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study. It can bring down your risk by as much as 30 per cent. Swimming is also a great workout for diabetics.

Switch off your TV

Watching TV, or staying hooked to any screen for that matter, makes you inactive and this can be detrimental to your health. A research in the journal JAMA finds that every 2 hours you spend by watching television instead of doing something that involves physical activity can take up your chance of developing type 2 diabetes by 20 per cent. Here's the link: Inactivity leads to obesity, a potential risk factor for uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Also, it has been found that people tend to indulge in unhealthy eating habits while watching TV.

Say no to cigarettes

Smoking comes with a pretty long list of health ailments. Type 2 diabetes is one among them. Smokers have a 50 per cent higher risk of type 2 diabetes than those who stay away from cigarettes, finds a study in JAMA. There are three ways smoking can up the risk factors of this condition: obesity, inflammation, cell damage. When your cells are damaged, they are unable to eliminate sugar from blood.

Maintain a sleep schedule

Sleep deprivation can lead to depleted energy levels, making you eat more. This can take up your blood glucose levels revving up your risk of diabetes. Moreover, lack of sleep leads to stress, which can contribute to the development of prediabetes.

Click here for our latest updates on coronavirus.