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‘Prescription of hope’ will raise spirits during COVID-19 crisis

By Editor
1st April 2020

Primary care providers should empower people with diabetes and give them a “prescription of hope” during the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have said. 

Early research from China has shown that from the beginning of the outbreak through till February, the death rate among people with coronavirus who had diabetes was 7.3% compared with 0.9% in those without comorbid conditions.

Speaking to Healio Primacy Care, Dr William Yancy Junior,  director of the Duke University Diet and Fitness Center, said: “Preventing COVID is even more important in people with obesity or diabetes, however, because the risk of severe disease is higher.”

Increased infection risk

Dr Yancy also suggested that people with diabetes seem to have an increased risk for infection because “elevated blood sugar increases risk by causing dysfunction of the immune system — conversely, better control of blood sugar can decrease risk in patients known to have diabetes”.

He added: “Losing weight, lowering blood pressure and controlling blood sugar have always been important for preventing severe health consequences, but the risk of severe COVID infection is now another reason to focus on these issues.”

In addition to offering interventions that would typically be recommended for reducing stress and avoiding infection, Dr Harold Bays, chief science officer of the obesity medical association, said that physicians should also give people positive updates on the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the information “can’t be the minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, day-to-day pounding upon people who are already stressed to the max and only telling them how horrible things are now, and for the foreseeable future”,

Dr Bays, who is also medical director and president of Louisville Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Research Center Inc, added: “I think it’s OK to give somebody a prescription of hope. In these times, I think hope might be one of the best things you can offer your patients.”

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Picture credit: Tai’s Captures

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