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Diabetics face higher threat from coronavirus

17 Mar 2020
Diabetics and others with pre-existing conditions have been shown to be particularly vulnerable to coronavirus. (Shutterstock)
Diabetics and others with pre-existing conditions have been shown to be particularly vulnerable to coronavirus. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 17 Mar 2020
17 Mar 2020

Khaldon Azhari

Although many people in Japan and around the world are worried about the spreading coronavirus, certain groups have cause for extra concern. Diabetics and others with pre-existing conditions have been shown to be particularly vulnerable to the disease.

While the World Health Organization has reported the mortality rate from the coronavirus to be around 3.8%, data from China has shown the mortality rate for diabetics with coronavirus to be significantly higher, at around 9.2%. And according to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, patients with both type 1 and 2 diabetes face a greater risk of becoming severely ill.

Kaori Takiya of Osaka told MBS TV News that she was very worried about her husband, Kazuyuki, who has type 1 diabetes but relies on his job at a pachinko parlor to support the family.

Although Kazuyuki uses alcohol disinfectant, having a job dealing with many people means real fears for him and his family. Kaori, who also has type 1 diabetes, said just riding the train to the hospital to take a monthly blood sample was extremely scary due to possible exposure and noted that not everyone wears a mask.

One reason for diabetics’ heightened sensitivity to the coronavirus is that their organs and blood vessels are weakened to begin with. Another reason is that the infection makes controlling blood sugar levels increasingly difficult. 

According to the data collected in China, diabetics faced the second highest mortality rate from the coronavirus behind those suffering from heart disease, whose mortality rate was shown to be around 13.2%. In addition, patients with high blood pressure faced a mortality rate of about 8.4%.

While people with pre-existing conditions can only do their best to prevent infection, Kaori said she hoped a treatment can be developed quickly so that more people can be saved.

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