Health Advice



The diabetes-COVID-19 tangle, untangled

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

In March, Tom Hanks disclosed he had COVID-19. He was especially lucky to make a full recovery, since he has Type 2 diabetes. That precondition makes folks more likely to develop serious complications from the virus.

A study of 200 COVID-19 patients with existing diabetes suggests that diabetes presents a "fertile ground for the virus' inflammatory surge." That then knocks diabetes out of control and results in "severe insulin resistance and severe hyperglycemia." That in turn makes COVID's complications, such as renal failure and low blood pressure, more likely to lead to persistent problems or even death.

Another study of COVID patients that included 952 with diabetes found those folks had higher rates of in-hospital death (1.1% without diabetes versus 11% with), acute respiratory distress syndrome (7.1% versus 21.4%) and heart injury (1.4% vs. 9.9%). Those with poorly controlled glucose levels also had higher rates of septic shock, kidney dysfunction and stroke.

That's why it's important to get your diabetes under control, to protect yourself from infection and, if infected, to be aggressive about managing your glucose level. We urge you to make and keep appointments (telemedicine and/or in person) with your diabetes doctor; monitor your blood sugar regularly, take your medication as prescribed and push to get your A1C below 6.4%. In addition, aim for 60 minutes of exercise five days a week and avoid highly processed foods and red meats. Also, stockpile two months' worth of diabetes medications, insulin and supplies. If you get sick, you'll need them.



Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c)2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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