COVID-19 and Diabetes


Learn how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 (Coronavirus) if you or your loved one has Diabetes in a compiled and summarized format.

As per the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with serious chronic medical conditions, including diabetes and heart disease are at very high risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.

If people with diabetes become unwell for any reason, it is important to follow ‘sick day’ rules.

Sick Day Rules/guidance have been published by a number of professional organisations:

“Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic: building a stronger and more resilient diabetes ecosystem.”

Learn how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 (Coronavirus):

Should I stop taking certain blood pressure medications because I’ve heard that these drugs may affect my risk of COVID-19 infection?

Blood pressure control is an essential part of managing (hypertension, heart and kidney diseases) diabetes. In addition, certain blood pressure lowering medications [(a class of medications known as angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-i) or Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs)] are often recommended for people living with diabetes to protect them from kidney and heart-related complications, even in the absence of high blood pressure.

At the present time, there is no confirmed scientific link between these blood pressure medications and the risk of COVID-19 infection or its complications.   Please do NOT stop or change any of your medications without discussing with your healthcare team.


Source: Canadian Diabetes Association


*Note : This is based on what is currently known.

How coronavirus can affect people with diabetes.

Coronaviruses can cause more severe symptoms and complications in people with diabetes, as well as in older people and those with other long-term conditions, such as cancer or chronic lung disease.

Everyone with diabetes, including those with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, is more at risk of severe complications if they get COVID-19, but the way it affects you can vary from person to person.

For most people, coronavirus causes a mild illness, but some people develop a more serious form of the virus infection, and could die.

It is important that people with diabetes follow the sick day rules should they become ill from any illness.

If you routinely check your blood sugar at home, you’ll probably need to do it more often if you are ill – at least every four hours, including during the night.

If your blood sugar is persistently high or low, or if you have symptoms of hyperglycaemia contact your GP practice or diabetes team by phone who will help you if you have any queries or if you are unsure about what to do regarding your diabetes.


Source: Diabetes UK 

*Note : This is based on what is currently known.

If you are pregnant and have diabetes

The same rules apply to you as for everyone with diabetes. If you’re pregnant and have diabetes, then you are more at risk of getting the virus*. This is because you’re more vulnerable to getting infections and illnesses. It’s really important you follow the rules on staying at home.


Source: Diabetes UK 


*Note : This is what is currently known.

Are the risks similar for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

In general, we don’t know of any reason to think COVID-19 will pose a difference in risk between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. More important is that people with either type of diabetes vary in their age, complications and how well they have been managing their diabetes.

People who already have diabetes-related health problems are likely to have worse outcomes if they contract COVID-19 than people with diabetes who are otherwise healthy, whichever type of diabetes they have.


Source: American Diabetes Association.


*Note : This is based on what is currently known.

What can people with diabetes and their loved ones do?

If you have diabetes, prepare in case you get ill.

  • Make sure you have all relevant contact details to hand in case you need them.
  • Pay extra attention to your glucose control.
  • If you do show flu-like symptoms (raised temperature, cough, difficulty breathing), it is important to consult a healthcare professional. If you are coughing up phlegm, this may indicate an infection so you should seek medical support and treatment immediately.
  • Any infection is going to raise your glucose levels and increase your need for fluids, so make sure you can access a sufficient supply of water.
  • Make sure you have a good supply of the diabetes medications you need. Think what you would need if you had to quarantine yourself for a few weeks.
  • Make sure you have access to enough food.
  • Make sure you will be able to correct the situation if your blood glucose drops suddenly.
  • If you live alone, make sure someone you can rely on knows you have diabetes as you may require assistance if you get ill.

Source: International Diabetes Federation 


*Note : This is based on what is currently known.

Is the virus more dangerous for me because of my kidney disease?

Patients with kidney disease have the same risk as the general population to get infected with coronavirus*. However, because of your kidney disease, you are at higher risk of getting very sick from this disease. Therefore, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This also accounts for patients older than 70 years and patients with other chronic diseases.


Source: European Renal Association – European Dialysis and Transplant Association 


*Note : This is based on what is currently known.

I am recovering at home. Can I use paracetamol when I don’t feel well?

ERA-EDTA: “We advise to discuss this with your doctor. In general, the use of paracetamol is safe, as long as you do not take more than instructed on the package insert.

Although there is no evidence that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) worsen Covid disease, they are generally not advised for chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients because they can be harmful for your kidneys.”


Source: European Renal Association – European Dialysis and Transplant Association 


*Note : This is based on what is currently known.

Can I still receive dialysis treatment when I am diagnosed with the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)?

ERA-EDTA recommends: “Yes, dialysis treatment will continue as usual. If you have light symptoms and are permitted to stay at home whilst being infected, you can receive treatment in your own dialysis center. It is advised to contact them in advance to give notice of your situation. Make sure to use private transportation to your clinic and not use a taxi service that is shared with other patients. If you do not have private transportation available to you, in some countries (as for example The Netherlands) ambulance services (with the appropriate prevention measures) are offered. Upon arrival, you will be separated from other patients to limit the chances of spreading the virus to others. The medical professionals will wear protecting clothes and facemasks. These measures are called isolation measures.

In case you are experiencing severe symptoms due to the coronavirus infection and have been admitted to a hospital, dialysis treatment will be done there.”


Source: European Renal Association – European Dialysis and Transplant Association 

*Note : This is based on what is currently known.


“In this page Boehringer Ingelheim has compiled and summarized some general information about COVID-19 as a service. With respect to linked information from third parties, we have selected the sources carefully for credibility but cannot make any representations and/ or warranties with regard to their accuracy or the completeness of the provided and/ or selected information.”

 “This information shall only serve for your background information and cannot replace consultation through a physician. Please make sure that you discuss any questions and/ or concerns with regard to your disease with your physician. Please also make sure that you always follow your local rules with regard to behavioral measures.”