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Authors from seven countries provide a global perspective on caring for patients with diabetes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The review provides insight regarding the impact on racial and ethnic minorities and the pathophysiological mechanisms linking COVID-19 and diabetes. Various strategies for improving care are discussed, including the use of telemedicine, when feasible.
Experiences gained by the international community during the COVID-19 pandemic can potentially transform care for diabetes beyond the COVID-19 era and improve preparedness for future disasters.
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
The COVID-19 pandemic has added an enormous toll to the existing challenge of diabetes care world-wide. A large proportion of patients with COVID-19 requiring hospitalization and/or succumbing to the disease have had diabetes and other chronic conditions as underlying risk factors. In particular, individuals belonging to racial/ethnic minorities in the U.S. and other countries have been significantly and disproportionately impacted. Multiple and complex socioeconomic factors have long played a role in increasing the risk for diabetes and now for COVID-19. Since the pandemic began, the global healthcare community has accumulated invaluable clinical experience on providing diabetes care in the setting of COVID-19. In addition, understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms that link these two diseases is being developed. The current clinical management of diabetes is a work in progress, requiring a shift in patient-provider interaction beyond the walls of clinics and hospitals: the use of tele-medicine when feasible, innovative patient education programs, strategies to ensure medication and glucose testing availability and affordability, as well as numerous ideas on how to improve meal plans and physical activity. Notably, this worldwide experience offers us the possibility to not only prepare better for future disasters but also transform diabetes care beyond the COVID-19 era.