Question re t1 and sickness

So— I get slightly frustrated when I constantly hear “we’ll even though you’re younger than me, your diabetic so you’re certainly more at risk to develop more complications” when discussing viruses sicknesses etc. this is coming from the lovely Coronavirus that is now going on and a conversation I had with someone. Can I ask why people say this? I understand I’m diabetic but I’m well controlled and otherwise fine. Insight appreciated. Thanks as always and I hope everyone is safe and healthy.

@Mlp1124 hi Michelle, my favorite doctor explains it like this: if your blood sugar is normal, then everything else is exactly the same as for non diabetes. Getting sick, staying sick, fighting infection, every thing. I suppose the trick here is blood sugar control.

I don’t consider type 1 as a component of immunodeficiency. But I am not a doctor and so the argument is based on my simple understanding.

Edit/addendum. Other people understanding diabetes and saying well thought out ideas and the ability to empathize in this time of complete panic will be, well, less than it normally is. Mostly. Don’t let idiots ruin your day or you will have many ruined days!

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Thanks for the response. That makes sense. Super frustrating. We have enough to deal with and this is a constant trigger. I work really hard to be “normal” with respect to my numbers and people’s ignorance is exhausting at times like this.

Hi Michelle @Mlp1124!
JDRF has some excellent information about how COVID-19 affects PWD. Here’s a link: Coronavirus - JDRF

Thank you for this link!

In the past, I’ve been holding down things in my office while co-workers were calling in with the flu or whatever was going around. Maybe it’s my genes - my mom lived to 94; my dad would probably have lived post 82 if he hadn’t decried s lung condition; and I had a great aunt who lived to 112. So while I know I may be at greater risk and need to be careful I’m not getting overly worried about things (in fact, probably less than “perfectly healthy” people). Granted this is a different “animal” and I’m older now, but I don’t want to live my life in fear.

The “diabetes puts you in a high-risk category” for illness - in my opinion - comes from the CDC statement on the covid-19. While this statement MAY be accurate, I also feel that it needs to be qualified. If you are under good control, you’re really not at any higher risk than anybody else of either getting sick or developing complications.

The thing is, diabetes is only one piece of the picture of my overall health status. Yeah, I’m type 1 diabetic. But I keep on top of my management. I also exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, try to ensure I get adequate rest, work to manage/reduce stress in my life, don’t use tobacco or alcohol, and practice healthy hygiene habits. Truth is, I’m actually healthier than a lot of people I know. I’ve had the flu twice in the past 2 years; never had any complications. I stayed home alone and took care of myself for 4-5 days, then I was ready to come back to work. Some of my non-diabetic coworkers who smoke caught the flu and got pneumonia and had to stay out well over a week.

Your overall health status and risk factors can’t be simply boiled down to the list of chronic medical conditions you may or may not have. It’s a far bigger picture than that.


Thanks so much for your response and experience. Solidify’s my thoughts.

The way I figure, I work hard to manage my diabetes and I don’t have any complications, so I’m not necessarily “high risk” in the the same way as someone with, say, a respiratory disease. The CDC is probably lumping us in with type 2 diabetics who are much more likely to also have serious heart conditions. That said, if I’m too sick to get out of bed, let alone take my insulin or feed myself or even feel when my blood sugar’s going high or low (not all of us have CGMs/alarm systems), it’s going to be WAY harder to keep my blood sugars in check. And let’s not forget that a lot of the medication for flu-like symptoms affect the blood sugar as well. If I go into DKA while I have the flu or Covid-19, that’s when I’m in real danger. I live alone, so that is my chief concern. Not so much the virus itself, but my potential inability to care for myself once I catch it.

Like Dorie said, I don’t want to live my life in fear. I’m taking the same kinds of precautions as everyone else and I’m still going to work as scheduled (I’m essential personnel), but I stocked up on sick days supplies, am in constant contact with my family (who all moved out of state but would come back to help take care of me if I asked) and have mentally prepared myself for the possibility of being hospitalized in the near future.

Edit: I just found this link on Facebook: Answering Your Questions on Coronavirus—Part 1: Understanding Risk. It answers your specific question, not just what to do about viruses in general.

Most of what I have seen says that if you are well controlled your chances of getting it worse is about the same as anyone else. Unless of course you are over 70 or have other conditions. JDRF had Dr. Ghallager in a webcast. She said she would put the “well controlled” number at below 9 or 10 on an a1c.

Thanks for sharing. I’m surprised she considers an A1C of 9 or 10 “well controlled”. I didn’t see it in the text but perhaps it was in the 45 minute video, which I haven’t had a chance to watch yet. I run in the 7s, which puts me at an average of around 170 (depending on what chart you use) and my endo wants me to reach for the 6s.
There are a number of charts out there and I just selected a couple at random, but whichever you use a 9 or 10 puts it way over 200, which I think most would agree is not good for anyone.

Thanks for replying and thanks for the good information.

Dr. Ghallager said it during her talk but you’re right it is not in the text.

And I would agree that 9 or 10 is probably not a good target for us. However, she was speaking to the context of the statement that “well controlled” diabetes poses little risk to exacerbating Coronavirus. Someone asked what was meant by “well controlled” int his context and her answer was below 9 or 10.

I’m not a doctor or scientist but I could see that maybe the 9 or 10 would be a threshold of where coronavirus is worse AND 9 or 10 not being good for preventing long term complications etc.

That said, during this I’m being extra diligent about exersize and insulin etc trying to stay as well controlled as possible. :smile:

I had the same experience recently with my daughter’s doctor. I was nervous to ask how the virus would effect her but I had to know and she had to hear it. Response was same as what you described. I was happy.

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Thanks for the response. I am glad you stand strong and may you live to 112 too! That is amazing!

Thank you for your response!

Good news for us and your daughter. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks so much for this. I just read the article. I agree, I think we are all lumped together.