DEAR Dr. Fritz,

Please call me Jilay. I have a friend who recently died of Covid-19. She was diabetic. I have heard that it is harder to fight off Covid-19 when you are diabetic. Is this true?

Thanks for your response.

Jilay 2022

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Dear Jilay 2022,

Yes, you have heard it right. Diabetes makes it harder to fight off Covid-19, when it is uncontrolled. I have laid down some points for you to ponder on the relationship between diabetes and Covid-19.

In diabetes, there is insulin resistance, and this is more common in people who are obese and may turn up the ACE2 receptors even more. You see, the more ACE2 receptors on the cells, there will be more virus in the body.

And if you are insulin-resistant, you’ll have more receptors for those spike proteins on your cell surfaces. And if these are in your lung cells, more viruses would get in, creating a worse Covid-19 infection.

There is a group of scientists now that have studied the role of insulin by measuring insulin resistance in Covid-19 patients through blood tests, and look at how sick they could be.

Dr. Francis Finucane, a consultant endocrinologist at Galway University Hospital in Galway, Ireland stated that these studies may not show anything because illness can make people insulin-resistant. So, the studies may be more of measuring an effect of the infection, and not the cause.

But, these studies may show ways to improve insulin sensitivity through diet, physical activity, and drugs and help doctors develop strategies to help protect obese and diabetic patients.

Well, I hope we have to avoid chocolate and sugar-sweetened beverage to reduce the population risk from Covid-19, for a start.

Good luck!

Dr. Fritz

(Dr. Fritz Legarde Espedilla is an aesthetic dermatologist and surgeon and a clinical sexologist. She is also trained in hypnotherapy and Medical Acupuncture. She is the co-host of digital page of Superbalita. She has been in the broadcast media for more than a decade and has written a book based on her 15 year stint with her radio program, Healthy is Sexy Secrets ni Dr. Fritz.”. For your questions, you may send them to Dear Dr. Fritz, c/o SunStar-Davao Publishing Inc., Ebro-Pelayo Building, Jacinto St., Davao City, (former Department of Foreign Affairs office), across Ateneo de Davao University and beside Holy Child School of Davao, or you e-mail them to dokfritz@yahoo.com. If you don’t wish your letter to be published, we regret that we cannot answer them. Thank you for your understanding.)