COVID-19 Symptoms: What People with Diabetes Need to Know

Having symptoms? Call your doctor ASAP.

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While there’s still a lot to learn about COVID-19, early statistics show that people with diabetes have a higher risk of serious COVID-19 complications. For this reason, it's important to know the COVID-19 symptoms for people with diabetes, so you can take action at the first sign of illness.

The Common Symptoms of COVID-19

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Other possible symptoms that many patients have experienced include:

  • New loss of smell or taste
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body pains
  • Congestion
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

Additionally, people with diabetes should be on the lookout for “an unusual spike in blood glucose levels that can’t be otherwise explained,” says says Minisha Sood, MD, endocrinologist in New York City. This could signal that you’re fighting an infection. (Here are other possible causes of high blood sugar.)

What to Do When Symptoms Appear

“If a person is noticing symptoms of COVID-19, it's important to take all their usual medications, to check their temperature, to self-quarantine, and get in touch with a healthcare provider right away,” says Dr. Sood.

For the safety of you and others, most doctors recommend calling your provider before going to the hospital. When you call, you should know your glucose reading, your ketone reading, your symptoms, and when your symptoms started.

Signs of an Emergency

People with diabetes have a higher risk of serious COVID-19 complications, so it’s important to know the signs of an emergency. You may be able to manage mild symptoms at home, but these symptoms require emergency medical attention:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain or pressure in the chest
  • Confusion
  • Inability to arouse or awaken
  • Bluish lips or face

These are symptoms of serious complications of COVID-19, which can be life-threatening.

The best thing you can do is be cautious. Wash your hands frequently, avoid crowded areas, and practice social distancing. Learn more COVID-19 prevention tips for at-risk groups here.