For people with diabetes, there could be many factors that make them more likely to suffer severe illness if they get COVID-19. How well you are managing your diabetes, whether you have other health conditions, whether you are keeping up with your doctor’s visits, are all things that could affect your outcome if you were to be exposed to the COVID-19 virus.

Should I worry more if I have diabetes?

Health professionals aren’t suggesting that people with diabetes are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19. The largest issue people with diabetes have when it comes to COVID-19 is worse outcomes. People with diabetes have much higher rates of severe complications and death than people without diabetes. In general, the more health conditions someone has (for example, diabetes and heart disease), the higher their chance of serious complications from COVID-19. In other words, if you aren’t actively taking care of your diabetes and you do get COVID-19, you will likely get sicker faster.

Data from the CDC shows more than three-quarters of people who died from Covid-19 had at least one preexisting condition. Diabetes was noted as an underlying condition for approximately 4 in 10 patients. Among people younger than 65 who died from COVID or COVID-related issues, about half had diabetes.

While having diabetes alone does not increase your COVID-19 risk, how well your diabetes is managed can impact your risk. Your chance of getting severely sick from COVID-19 is likely to be much lower if your diabetes is well-managed. Having heart disease or other complications in addition to your diabetes could worsen the chance of getting seriously ill from COVID-19, like other viral infections, including seasonal flu, because your body’s ability to fight off an infection is already compromised.

Prevention — controlling blood sugar through diet, exercise, monitoring, and medication — should be your focus.