What to Know About Type 2 Diabetes and COVID-19

Table of Contents
View All
Table of Contents

Type 2 diabetes is a condition that affects your body's ability to use sugar (glucose). Having type 2 diabetes can increase your risk of worse complications and severe illness from a COVID-19 infection. Diabetes is considered one of many underlying medical conditions that can affect how your body responds to the virus.

A young woman using a glucose meter

Karl Tapales / Getty Images

Type 2 Diabetes and COVID-19 Risk

We do not know if having type 2 diabetes increases your risk of also getting a COVID-19 infection. Research about COVID-19 is ongoing, and scientists continue to learn more about this disease.

However, if your diabetes is not under control, consistently high blood glucose levels can increase your risk of getting infections. It is possible that you have a higher chance of getting COVID-19 with uncontrolled diabetes.

Although we do not know the exact risk of infection, we do know that your risk of exposure is about the same for other adults who do not have type 2 diabetes. This means your risk of being exposed to the virus is usually not higher when compared to another person. However, if you are engaged in activities or work in an area that increases the likelihood of viral transmission, your risk can vary.

Complications of Type 2 Diabetes and COVID-19

Complications from COVID-19 may include:

  • Hospitalization
  • Intubation
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Death

People with certain underlying medical conditions are more likely to experience severe illness from the virus.

If you have type 2 diabetes, you have a higher risk of severe illness and worse complications from COVID-19. You also have a greater risk of dying from the virus. Your risk of complications or worse outcomes may be lower if your diabetes is under control and managed well.

Viral infections can cause blood glucose levels to be higher in people with type 2 diabetes. They can also increase inflammation. Although researchers are still studying COVID-19, it is possible that the virus could increase your blood glucose levels and inflammation.

COVID-19 Risk With Multiple Underlying Conditions

Your risk of having complications from COVID-19 increases if you have multiple underlying medical conditions including type 2 diabetes. For example, having diabetes and heart disease raises your risk of complications.

Type 2 Diabetes Treatments and COVID-19

You should continue to use your type 2 diabetes treatments normally. It is recommended that you have at least a 30-day supply of all of your diabetes treatments and tools, including:

  • Insulin 
  • Medications
  • Glucose meter strips 
  • Lancets 
  • Needles 
  • Ketone strips

Managing your blood glucose levels is important for staying healthy and may help you avoid infections. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is COVID-19 more dangerous for people with type 2 diabetes?

COVID-19 can be more dangerous for people with underlying medical conditions like type 2 diabetes. You are more likely to have a serious illness and worse outcomes if you get COVID-19. Being older and having multiple underlying medical conditions also increases the risk of severe illness. 

Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have type 2 diabetes? 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people with underlying medical conditions like type 2 diabetes be among the first to get a vaccine for COVID-19 if they are 16 years or older.

Talk to your healthcare providers about any concerns you may have, and follow their recommendations for vaccination. Make sure you tell your healthcare provider about all of your allergies and health conditions.  

How high is my risk of being exposed to COVID-19 if I come in for type 2 diabetes treatment?

In general, your risk of being exposed to COVID-19 is the same as the general population unless you engage in activities or work in circumstances that expose you to the virus. Your healthcare provider may recommend doing virtual visits at home or telehealth to lower the risk of viral transmission.

How to Stay Safe

Your healthcare provider may recommend that you avoid going to hospitals, clinics, or pharmacies unless you need emergency or urgent care. You may be able to receive diabetic medical supplies at home through the mail.

Other ways to stay safe are to:

  • Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your face 
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick 
  • Wear a mask 
  • Stay 6 feet apart from others 
  • Avoid crowds 
  • Stay home when possible 

A Word From Verywell

We understand that having type 2 diabetes during the COVID-19 pandemic can make you worried about getting the virus and its potential complications because of your underlying medical condition. It is normal to feel anxious during this time. Remember to take your medications as directed and follow good self-care practices. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions or need additional support. 

The information in this article is current as of the date listed. As new research becomes available, we’ll update this article. For the latest on COVID-19, visit our coronavirus news page.

Was this page helpful?
5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People with certain medical conditions. Updated March 15, 2021.  

  2. American Diabetes Association. Diabetes and COVID-19: frequently asked questions.

  3. Johns Hopkins Medicine. FAQs about diabetes + COVID-19.  

  4. American Diabetes Association. How COVID-19 impacts people with diabetes.

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 vaccines for people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Updated March 13, 2021.