How to deal with diabetes
It’s a disease that afflicts millions of people worldwide and has no cure.
COVID-19 might be the first thing that popped into your head. And while you’d be right, another correct answer is diabetes.
The battle with high blood sugar is serious, affects people of all ages and is often a life-long struggle.
While everybody can contract COVID-19, those with diabetes are at a higher risk for serious complications from the virus.
Are people with diabetes more likely to get COVID-19?
While people with diabetes face potentially worse outcomes, it is not currently thought that they have a greater risk of getting the virus. It is known that people with diabetes have much higher rates of serious complications and death than people without diabetes, and the more health conditions somebody has, the higher their chance of getting serious complications.
How does COVID-19 affect people with diabetes?
Fluctuating blood sugar levels can affect your body’s ability to fight off an infection, especially if you have other health issues. Viral infections can also cause inflammation or internal swelling.
The bottom line: if diabetes goes unchecked, then severe complications can set in. By better managing your blood sugar, the likelihood of diabetes patients developing severe COVID symptoms goes down.
How can people use their diet to better manage their blood sugar?
You should be in close contact with your doctor about managing your diabetes.
Heather Klug, registered dietitian with Aurora Health Care, offers these smart and tasty tips:
- Carb counting: Carbohydrates turn into glucose in the body and affect blood glucose levels more than fat-or protein-containing foods. Choose carbs that come from nutrient-dense sources like fruit, vegetables, dairy, legumes, and whole grains, along with controlled portion sizes.
- Eat lean: Protein appears to increase insulin response without increasing blood glucose. Go with chicken, beef, eggs, milk, soy, nuts and plant sources.
- Focus on healthy fats: Choose from mono and polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3 fats. Examples of healthy fat food sources include avocado, oils (olive and flaxseed), olives, nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, peanuts, walnuts), seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, flaxseed), and fatty fish such as salmon and albacore tuna.
- Be sodium savvy: People with diabetes should monitor their sodium intake, since they are more likely to have high blood pressure. Some examples of high-sodium foods include canned soups and vegetables, cold cuts, pizza, savory snacks, salted nuts, cereals, and condiments such as soy sauce, ketchup, mustard, and pickles.
For more information, check out the COVID-19 Resource Center.
About the Author
Matt Queen, health enews contributor, is a communication coordinator at Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee. He is a former TV sports anchor and journalist with extensive public relations experience across the health care spectrum. Outside of work, Matt enjoys watching sports (of course), cooking, gardening, golfing and spending time with his wife and two young children.