Clinicians are under immense pressure right now to protect patients from COVID-19 especially those at increased risk, including people with diabetes. For endocrinologists treating type 2 diabetes, COVID-19 prevention means advising patients on safe practices — like those outlined by the CDC — and making the most of smart technologies to fine tune diabetes control. Continuing education is key to improving clinicians’ ability to apply the latest treatment advances to diabetes care and to learn about the latest in diabetes research. It also helps them better understand how today’s COVID-19 public health crisis can impact persons living with type 2 diabetics.
“Type 2 diabetes is a major risk factor for complications from COVID-19,” explained Carolyn Skowronski, associate director of Scientific Services for Clinical Care Options. “In areas of the country where type 2 diabetes is prevalent, patients have been hit really hard. That’s why it’s critical for those with type 2 diabetes to be especially vigilant in practicing social distancing to reduce viral transmission in addition to regular diabetes management as recommended by their healthcare provider.”
One strategy for improved diabetes management is the use of smart technology to easily and effectively improve diabetes control. Continuous glucose monitors (CGM) allow patients to closely monitor their blood glucose levels with a sensor that attaches to the skin, eliminating the need for frequent finger sticks. And with CGMs, patients can be alerted to an unsafe drop in blood glucose (hypoglycemia) so they can quickly manage the situation before dangerous symptoms develop.
Additional smart technologies include connected or smart insulin pens that display each insulin dose and time of administration. By using a smart insulin pen, patients are better able to track their insulin use and keep blood glucose in the range that’s most healthy. Connected pens are compatible with CGM systems, providing important data about glycemic trends that can inform medication and lifestyle decisions.
In addition to learning about diabetes smart technologies, clinicians can stay up to date with the latest research findings for current and emerging diabetes drugs, as well as important developments in the impact that COVID-19 can have in patients with diabetes and other chronic diseases.
“There are myriad educational opportunities that provide high caliber, current, and convenient education on type 2 diabetes for endocrinologists and other clinicians. The various channels include live symposia at scientific meetings, live online webinars, on-demand webcasts, downloadable slides, and expert commentaries to name a few,” explained Skowronski. “Clinicians can use these resources to formulate patient care plans to help reduce the risk of poor outcomes from infection with COVID-19 in these high risk patients with type 2 diabetes.
Clinicians and patients should work together to optimize treatment plans that ensure patients are managing their health in the most effective way possible. With diabetes self-care, smart technologies, and COVID-19 precautionary measures in place, persons with type 2 diabetes can effectively protect themselves from today’s public health crisis.
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