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COVID-19 and diabetes in South Africa: all the latest, expert advice

There is a lot of information out there about COVID-19 and diabetes! But what do you actually need to know?

We wanted to make it as easy as possible for you to understand COVID, so we’ve gathered all the latest information and expert advice in South Africa.

Everything you read here has been checked by South African diabetes experts. We are updating this page as new research comes in. Still have questions? Ask us here and we’ll get our expert team to answer.

covid-19 and diabetes

Should diabetics get the COVID-19 vaccine?

We asked Professor Joel Dave, one of South Africa’s top endocrinologists and the head of endocrinology at UCT and Groote Schuur, for his advice. Prof. Dave has been working the COVID wards and has a deep understanding of what it’s like for people with diabetes to get COVID-19. Should diabetics get the COVID-19 vaccine? In his opinion, yes.

Here’s what Prof. Joel Dave has to say, in detail.

What do we know about COVID-19 and diabetes?

The latest research and statistics from South Africa and internationally. Here’s what we know about COVID-19 and diabetes in SA – including who is at greater risk, and the goal for blood sugar levels. Those who kept their blood sugar in range (3.9 to 10mmol/l) had better chances of surviving COVID-19. Dr. Sundeep Ruder also shares his 7 tips for reducing your risk if you have diabetes during COVID-19.

COVID-19 advice from a doctor

We asked Prof. Joel Dave, one of SA’s top endocrinologists, gave us advice and updates for people with diabetes during COVID-19.

“I would like to urge you to please focus on keeping your blood sugar in your target range as much as possible. (In general, this means between 4mmol/l and 10mmol/l, but your doctor might want you to be in tighter control). Keep your diabetes in good control by eating healthy food, taking your medication, doing some exercise every day, and losing weight if you need to.”

Here is all his advice. And here’s an update, as more research came in.

Does diabetes increase the risk of getting COVID-19?

NO. There is no scientific evidence to show that people living with diabetes are at increased risk of getting infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

Prof. Joel Dave, Endocrinologist

What the research tells us

Once the first wave eased in South Africa, we were able to take a look at the international research as it relates to diabetes, and pick out these fascinating chunks of information about COVID-19 as it relates to diabetes. Take a look at what the research shows.

COVID-19 and diabetes daily tips

We are living in strange times! With the outbreak of COVID-19 all over the world, we all need to take extra precautions. Particularly people with diabetes.

We know that having an existing condition like diabetes makes us more at risk, and that diabetes can lead to a weakened immune system. We also know that stress raises blood sugar, and high blood sugar is not good for health. So what should we do? Eat healthy, stay active, check your blood sugar, look after yourself. Get more fast facts here.

“The most important thing to consider is your health and the health of those around you – and that includes mental health!”

Sweet Life Diabetes Community

COVID-19 precautions and tips

The spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) has made headlines all over the world. There is still a lot we don’t know, but we do know how easily COVID-19 is spread from person to person. And that those with the greatest risk of having complications are the elderly and/or people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes. Here are 12 helpful precautions and tips.

COVID-19 resources for people with diabetes

It’s a tough time to be living with diabetes. Not only do we have all the usual things to worry about, but our chronic condition puts us at greater risk of getting COVID-19. That’s why we have to stay informed and stay safe. Here are some really helpful resources, including free diabetes apps, websites and information. Find out more.

10 diabetics share how COVID-19 affects their diabetes

Diabetes in the time of coronavirus… This is nothing any of us ever anticipated! We thought it might be helpful to ask a few people living with diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) how COVID-19 and lockdown have affected their diabetes management, their mental health and their lives. Here’s what they had to say about diabetes during coronavirus.

Diabetes survivors of COVID-19

We asked our Diabetic South Africans community to share if they had recovered from COVID-19 with diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Here are their hopeful and inspiring stories.

“My advice to other people with diabetes who are worried about getting COVID-19? Stay at home and keep warm, my fellow diabetics.”

Sphango Ta-spiro Njumbuxa, Type 2 diabetic

A diabetes community

We want to give you as much helpful information as possible during this difficult time. If you have any questions about how to manage your diabetes during the pandemic, ask us and we’ll get expert answers for you. We know that it can be hard to be isolated at home for so long, and that living in fear is exhausting… We’re all in the same boat, particularly those of us living with diabetes. The most important thing to remember is to take it one day at a time: that’s all any of us can do.

Don’t forget to join us on Diabetic South Africans to share your experiences. Even though it might feel as if you’re stuck at home alone, there’s a whole community of people living with diabetes who deeply understand what you’re going through. Let’s get through this together!

Would you rather listen to this information?

Here’s an episode of our podcast about it!

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Photo by Adam Nieścioruk on Unsplash

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.