The coronavirus brought the world to its knees, and the impact was especially harsh for those with underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes. This was the case for the Native American population of Fremont County who already faced significant health disparities. In this article, we’ll explore some specific health risks faced by Native Americans or anyone with diabetes, as well as some practical steps you can take to protect yourself or a loved one.
Firstly, it’s important to note that those with diabetes are not more likely to contract Covid-19, but they are more likely to become seriously ill or die if they do contract it. This is because diabetes inhibits the immune system, leading to a greater possibility of complications from Covid-19, such as respiratory failure. Not only that, but Covid-19 can also affect blood sugar levels in unpredictable ways, leading to more difficult-to-control blood sugar levels, additional stress on the body, and other complications.
Native Americans already have a disproportionately higher risk of diabetes compared to the national average. According to the National Indian Health Board, Native Americans and Alaskan Natives are 15% more likely to have diabetes than the general population. In some American Indian and Alaska Native communities, more than half of adults aged 18 and older have been diagnosed with diabetes, with prevalence rates reaching as high as 60%. This is due to a number of factors, including environmental and genetic factors. Since diabetes is already prevalent in the community, it is especially important to take every precaution to prevent Covid-19 from exacerbating overall health and well-being.
There are several things that someone with diabetes can do to protect themselves. One of the most effective ways to do this is to continue practicing social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands frequently and of course, vaccination. Since pre-existing conditions like diabetes can make Covid-19 more dangerous, it’s important to avoid close contact with those who are sick or might be at increased risk of infection.
Another way to protect oneself is to focus on good diabetes management. Staying on top of regular doctor’s appointments, taking medication as prescribed, and monitoring blood sugar levels frequently can help to mitigate the negative effects of Covid-19. It’s also a good idea to stay informed about the most recent updates in diabetes care and Covid-19 since new research is emerging all the time.
Finally, it’s important to remember that taking care of mental health is just as important as physical health during difficult times like these. Achieving emotional well-being is a key aspect of overall health, and can help those with diabetes to stay strong and resilient in the face of Covid-19. One way to do this is to reach out to loved ones and professional healthcare providers for support, especially if feeling anxious or depressed.
The combination of Native Americans’ higher rates of diabetes and the dangers of Covid-19 can be a scary prospect. However, there are ways to reduce risk and stay healthy even in uncertain times. By working together, we can keep the community safe and healthy.
Wind River Family and Community Healthcare is working alongside our neighboring medical providers to reduce the exposure of COVID19. Updated information from the Center of Disease and Control, John Hopkins, and Wyoming Department of Health are found below
Direct link to the Wyoming Department of Health for current Wyoming COVID19 Report
Direct link to the CDC website that features the specifics of COVID19.