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OU Medicine: 'Diabetics May Face Complications with COVID-19'

Posted at 5:09 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 17:08:04-04

OKLAHOMA CITY — Diabetes and COVID-19 could be a risky mix. Medical professionals with the University of Oklahoma say adults and children with uncontrolled diabetes may face a higher risk of complications if they contract the coronavirus.

Healthcare leaders at Harold Hamm Diabetes Center at OU Medicine clarify diabetics are not more likely to be infected with the virus, but may face an uphill battle if they catch it.

Jed Friedman, Ph.D., director of Harold Hamm Diabetes Center, said, “If a person’s diabetes is well-managed, the risk of severe illness with COVID-19 is about the same as the general public. However, if diabetes is not well-managed, or if a person has other conditions, such as heart disease or hypertension, the effects of COVID-19 could be worse because the body’s ability to fight infection is compromised.”

A press release by OU Medicine says, "Viral infections can increase inflammation in people with diabetes, as well as increasing the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis, most common in people with Type 1 diabetes. Both may contribute to complications if a person with diabetes gets COVID-19, Friedman said. Levels of inflammation may be higher in patients with COVID-19 and diabetes compared with those without diabetes."

It does not appear that COVID-19 infects people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes differently, Friedman said

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