People living with diabetes face a significantly higher risk of dying with COVID-19, according to new research.
An analysis published by NHS England found that those with type 1 diabetes are at three and a half times the risk, and people living with type 2 are at double the risk of dying in hospital with the virus, compared to people without diabetes.
Overall, NHS England said 7,466 of those who died in hospitals in England had type 2 and 365 who died had type 1 diabetes, and the research suggests that the threat for those under 40 with type 1 or type 2 diabetes is very low, with no recorded deaths in those under 20.
The study also shows that in people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, even when all other known factors are taken into account, higher blood glucose levels and obesity are linked to higher risk.
A dedicated helpline has now been introduced, together with Diabetes UK, Novo Nordisk and Insulet, to advise those who need help with insulin.
The new helpline is part of a package of measures already in place for people with diabetes or at risk, including the world-leading Diabetes Prevention Programme, which has already successfully helped almost 90,000 people who were at risk of type 2, to lose a combined weight of more than 407, 967 pounds.
‘This research shows the extent of the risk of coronavirus for people with diabetes and the different risks for those with type 1 and type 2 diabetes,’ said lead author, Professor Jonathan Valabhji.
‘Importantly, it also shows that higher blood glucose levels and obesity further increase the risk in both types of diabetes.
‘This can be worrying news but we would like to reassure people that the NHS is here for anyone with concerns about diabetes – and has put extra measures in place to help people and keep them safe, including online sites to support people to care for themselves, digital consultations, and a dedicated new helpline for advice and support for people treated with insulin,’ added the Professor.
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