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A Doctor's Tips for Diabetes Patients During the COVID-19 Outbreak

photo of glucose meter close up
Brunilda Nazario, MD - Blogs
By Brunilda Nazario, MDBoard-certified internist and endocrinologistMarch 20, 2020

If you have diabetes, the coronavirus outbreak probably feels like a rollercoaster of uncertainty. Right now, being prepared and reaching out is critical.

Speak to your doctor about maintaining a care plan with your diabetes team. Do they/will they offer telemedicine visits? Managing your diabetes and controlling your blood sugar is important for keeping your immune system at its best.

To prepare, here’s what I recommend:

  • Monitor your diabetes even more closely than usual. During stress, it makes sense to monitor your blood sugars more often.
  • Have extra meds. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for refills now. This may be out of sync with your insurance coverage and you may need to pay out-of-pocket but chose generics like old-fashion insulin vials and syringes. Have one extra week of supplies in case you get sick. If you can’t go out, have them delivered or reach out to a neighbor to help.
  • Stay connected. Our community helps us thrive. Use Facetime, Zoom, or just your phone to connect during this crisis. 
  • Stock up. Make sure to have plenty of canned and frozen fruits and vegetables on hand. Before using, rinse them thoroughly before using since they have excess salt or sugar, which can throw a monkey wrench in your diabetes management.
  • Don't forget carbs. Have simple carbs available – regular soda, honey, jam, Jell-O, hard candies or popsicles help keep your blood sugar up if you are at risk for lows or too ill to eat.
  • Be creative with your meals. It's never too late to experiment in the kitchen with diabetes-friendly recipes. American Diabetes Association has plenty of heart and diabetes recipes.
  • Exercise daily. While you may not be able to keep your regular routine of going to the gym, you do need to keep exercising. It’s a must for managing blood sugars and decreasing stress. So, set up a corner of your home with equipment, mats, video, etc. Now’s a great time to try a new workout app.
  • Get plenty of sleep. To set yourself for a good night’s rest, practice mediation, prayer, and optimism – AND place a curfew on the internet and news. At a certain time in the evening, start dimming the lights in your home and put away screens.
  • Stay up to date. Information changes rapidly. Check your local /state authorities on recent changes in your community.
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About the Author
Brunilda Nazario, MD

Brunilda Nazario, MD, is the Lead Medical Director at WebMD and is responsible for reviewing WebMD content and ensuring its accuracy, timeliness, and credibility. She is a board certified Internist and Endocrinologist, she is also certified in Advanced Diabetes Management. Upon completion of a certification in bariatric medicine, Dr Nazario is now a Diplomate for the American Board of Obesity Medicine.

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