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Managing Your Diabetes During Lockdown

Man checking his insulin

The pandemic has affected pretty much all aspects of our lives; from work and socialising to managing our mental and physical wellbeing. For those with a pre-existing health condition, lockdown may mean less access to resources and medical care. To mark World Diabetes Day on November 14, we’re chatting to Sinéad Powell, a dietitian with Diabetes Ireland.

Assessing Risk 

Sinéad and her team have been especially busy since March, with lots of diabetics fearful of contracting the virus. “We had a huge number of calls at the beginning of lockdown”, she recalls. “However, as more information has emerged, we now know that Covid is more of a risk factor for those with poorly managed diabetes”. This is manifest in things like high blood pressure and obesity. While there doesn’t seem to be an adverse outcome when it comes to Covid for those under 40 or with type 1 diabetes, it makes sense to stay as safe as possible. “We tell people what we know so far. If they’re concerned about travelling to work for example, we advise them to have a conversation with their employer about reducing risk. It comes down to personal choice - you have to do what’s right for you.”

Older woman on a call while on her laptop

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle 

As the second wave of lockdown continues, many of us have found we’re exercising less and falling back into bad habits when it comes to food choices. For diabetics, this could lead to those dangerous issues mentioned above, weight gain and high blood pressure. Therefore, it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, even when you can’t see friends and family. This is also key when it comes to the onset of type 2 diabetes, which, as Sinéad explains, “is preventable in 80% of cases.” Though the weather is chilly, throw on a coat and try to get a brisk 30 minute walk each day. This will help manage weight while reducing stress and anxiety.  

Accessing Resources

If you do have diabetes, there are lots of online resources available on the Diabetes Ireland website. The theme for this year’s Diabetes Day is ‘the year of the nurse’, as Sinéad explains. “Our main message is around diabetes awareness and reducing risk by accessing means of education.” Diabetes Smart is a series of videos that explain the condition and help users put a personalised care plan in place. There’s a detailed section on Covid and Diabetes, while those who’d like to attend an online group meeting can find more info here