Diabetics at Higher Risk for COVID-19 Mortality | Diabetes and Coronavirus


According to the WHO, persons with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and high blood pressure are at higher risk of mortality and severe illness from COVID-19. To prevent severe illness from the coronavirus, diabetics should aim to keep HbA1c levels below 7 - 8% for the elderly (above 70 years of age) and below 6.5 - 7% for persons under 70.

Without blood sugar control, high blood glucose levels can hinder the immune system, which weakens the body’s healing and defence abilities and makes it more susceptible to infection from viruses and bacteria.

The CDC also estimates that diabetes patients are more likely to be hospitalized and require intensive care compared to individuals without underlying health conditions.


With underlying health conditions

Without underlying health conditions

Non-ICU hospitalizations

27.3% - 29.8%

7.2% - 7.8%

ICU hospitalizations

13.3% - 14.5%

2.2% - 2.4%

*Data based on persons aged ≥19 years

In addition to washing hands, wearing masks, and avoiding unnecessary social gatherings, people with diabetes should pay more attention to controlling blood glucose levels than usual. Regular control of blood sugar - eating healthy, exercising, self-monitoring blood sugar and taking proper medication - should be practiced more vigilantly.

To protect against severe illness and diabetes complications, doctors recommend following prescribed treatment plans that may include diet, exercise, medicine and supplements to lower blood sugar.

*This article is only provided for general information purposes and reference only and not designed or intended to constitute medical advice or to be used for diagnosis. Please consult a qualified medical professional for further advice on decision making on treatment and/or medication.

Graphic source: The Conversation under Creative Commons license