Old age, frailty and diabetes make COVID-19 people more vulnerable
Old age, frailty and diabetes together make a “triple jeopardy for vulnerability” among some people when it comes to COVID-19, according to a world-leading professor.
Professor Alan Sinclair, who has an international reputation in the field of older people, has published a new research paper in EClinicalMedicine.
‘Age, Frailty and Diabetes – triple jeopardy for vulnerability to COVID-19 infection‘ has explored the reasons why some people with co-morbidities become more sick than others.
Professor Sinclair said: “The epidemiology of COVID-19 incidence, severity of illness and mortality seem to be shifted towards older people particularly those with multiple co-morbidities such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
“However, frailty, which affects more than one in five older people with type 2 diabetes, worsens prognosis in severe acute illness and is a better predictor of intensive care unit outcomes.”
Professor Sinclair, the original founder of IDOP (Institute of Diabetes in Older People, 2008-14) and Diabetes Frail (2014 onwards), an organisation which explores the emerging importance of frailty, has highlighted that older people with both diabetes and frailty must remain as healthy as possible, and many should already be classed as a vulnerable adult and be ‘shielding’.
He added: “Key steps to maintain health in this highly vulnerable group of people include daily exercise (bearing in mind the restrictions in place), which boosts immunity and improves glycaemic control, which in turn reduces the risk of infection. Keep individuals well hydrated and review the use of SGLT2 inhibitors if unwell and maintain access to medical advice through telemedicine or telephone/video conversation.”
Click here to read A Covid-19 Response Action – Diabetes Management in Care Homes