The public health train wreck that is diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic disease that causes the body to have high blood glucose, which can lead to many complications including heart attack, stroke and damage to small blood vessels (microvascular complications). Maintaining your weight, eating healthy foods and exercising regularly helps prevent these problems.
Uncontrolled diabetes can aggravate Covid infection
People with uncontrolled diabetes, especially those who are overweight or obese, are more likely to develop a coronavirus infection like Covid-19. That can result in life-threatening complications like infections that require amputation of feet and gangrenous toes, as well as a rapid decline in kidney function and other organ failure.
The disease also weakens the immune system and makes it harder for people to fight off a coronavirus infection. When a person has both diabetes and Covid, the coronavirus can cause an "inflammatory storm," triggering an uncontrolled release of tiny proteins called cytokines that can damage healthy tissue and organs.
It's a vicious cycle, with poor health care, a sedentary lifestyle and high-calorie diets fueling chronic inflammation and diabetes that increases the risk of developing Covid and exacerbates the already-severe illness. It's a cycle that is particularly deadly for poor and people of color, who are diagnosed with diabetes at disproportionately higher rates than whites.
In the United States, there are 30 million people with diabetes and another 84 million who have pre-diabetes, which is a precursor to type 2 diabetes. It's one of the leading causes of death and a major drain on our health care dollars.