Covid-19 and diabetes: A letter from Professor Roy Taylor

Michael Mosley talks with Professor Roy Taylor

Covid-19 seems to be more severe in people with diabetes. It is likely that the increased risk is because of a heavier body weight, any pre-existing heart trouble and hypertension. Excess body weight in particular is associated with breathing problems, and these are likely to be made worse by Covid-19 infection.

For type 1 diabetes, there is unlikely to be any advantage of overly tight control, and ordinarily good control – without hypos – should be maintained.

For type 2 diabetes, maintaining best possible control is also wise. Given that both of the correctable major risk factors for severe Covid-19 infection (excess body weight and hypertension) can also be improved by weight loss, this should be considered.

If you decide to do rapid weight loss then this will result in rapid normalisation of your blood sugar levels and bring down your of risk of Covid-19, within days or weeks.

Studies to date have shown no negative impact on the immune system from rapid calorie restriction, as long as you are consuming adequate protein, vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients.

Taking action, now, to lose weight is likely to be beneficial in limiting the severity of an infection. Ideally, personal medical advice should be sought.

But remember that this virus is spread mainly by hand contact with infected surfaces then transfer to eyes/nose/mouth. So the most important actions are to wash hands regularly, avoid hand contact with face and maintain social distancing.


A note about Professor Roy Taylor

Professor Roy Taylor is one of the lead authors of the Newcastle University study, DiRECT (Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial), published in the Lancet, which shows just how possible it is to prevent and reverse a widespread, devastating disease. His work really could revolutionise the treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes, improve the lives of millions and save the NHS billions of pounds. Professor Taylor is also the author of Life Without Diabetes.