COVID-19 and Diabetes: CGMs in Hospital Improve Care | Tech Thursday

What does it feel like to be ill with COVID-19 as a person with diabetes? Much of the novel virus COVID-19 is still a mystery that we learn more about every day.

Through the stories of those who have contracted COVID-19, we know that the impacts vary. Symptoms can appear mild with a slight fever and some coughing, like Andrew O’Dwyer from the UK experienced.

While for others symptoms can be more severe, like how a secondary-school teacher living with diabetes had. She had a much longer list of symptoms including difficulty breathing, dizziness, dehydration, and vomiting.

Though even with her more severe symptoms, she struggled with whether she should go to the hospital or not.

“I’m unsure whether to go to the hospital. I feel as though I’ll be wasting valuable resources and I may be an infection risk to vulnerable patients.

As many medical systems are overwhelmed and resources continue to be limited, it’s important to think of ways to reduce the risk of transmission so individuals can get the care they need. Because despite this wide range of impact, COVID-19 continues to emerge with very severe complications for people with or without diabetes.

Reduce the Risk: Glucose control is key!

For people with diabetes who are treating COVID-19, glucose control is key! Keeping BG levels as close to the target range as possible can help reduce the inflammatory response, caused by hyperglycemia. Following the basic guidelines of sick day management will assist the type 1 person who might be diagnosed with COVID-19.

To minimize the risk of transmission, hospitals are starting to use CGM’s for glucose checks in ICUs and in COVID-19 units.

“We knew we needed to get creative” states Carol Levy, MD, Clinical Director of the Mount Sinai Diabetes Center, while discussing “a new initiative to utilize CGM for critically ill patients with COVID-19 to reduce patient-provider contact, conserve PPE, and reduce risks for virus transmission.”

For more information, please see our Emergency Preparedness Blog Post.

There is an incredible amount of information regarding COVID-19 and diabetes. These articles show a glimmer of hope for all people with diabetes that might develop COVID-19.

Written by Catherine Cullinane RN, CDCES, our resident Tech Thursday Content Writer

To read more Mount Sinai’s efforts click here. Click here for For Arthur’s full story, or for the secondary school’s story click here.


*From ADA Treatment & Care Fact Sheet, “People with diabetes are not more likely to get COVID-19 than the general population. The problem people with diabetes face is primarily a problem of worse outcomes, not a greater chance of contracting the virus. In China, where most cases have occurred so far, people with diabetes had much higher rates of serious complications than people without diabetes.” To help friends and family keep safe, here is an excellent handout on Keeping Safe and Home and in the Workplace by the World Health Organization.


COVID-19 & Diabetes: What Healthcare Professionals Need to Know
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The Telehealth guidelines for providing DSMT have been updated since the streaming of this webinar.  Please see this blog, Telehealth and DSMT | Latest Updates from CMS, for updated information.


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