A medical helpline run by a team of top doctors are offering people glucose intolerance tests so they can find out if they might have diabetes amid COVID-19.
Dr Morton’s, which offers callers direct access to experienced healthcare professionals, is concerned about the estimated one million people in the UK who are unaware they have diabetes.
This is because newly published research has shown COVID-19 mortality rates are higher among those with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In addition, those who survive tend to spend more time in hospital than those who do not have diabetes and have tested positive for coronavirus.
Dr Vicky Hordern, a consultant endocrinologist and adviser to Dr Morton’s, said: “One in 15 people in the UK have diabetes, but an estimated one million people in the UK have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. There has never been a more important time to know if you are one of them.
Photo: Dr Vicky Hordern
“Individuals with diabetes are definitely amongst the most vulnerable to COVID-19 and we know this from data released describing the patients who have sadly died from COVID-19.
“We also know that the COVID-19 virus binds to ACE2 receptors in the lungs to gain entry to these cells and infect them, and researchers have found that there are differences in the ACE2 receptors in some groups of people who are at higher risk including those with diabetes, high blood sugars appears to affect these receptors.
“Public health advice for people with diabetes has been that you should consider yourself more vulnerable to the severe consequences of infection with COVID-19 and therefore you should take action to avoid catching the virus.
“In these days of great uncertainty, and as we begin to think about going back to some sort of normal life, we must all judge our own risk from this virus that will continue to circulate until a vaccine is developed, and adapt our way of living accordingly.”
To help people who may be worried that they might be one of the undiagnosed people with diabetes, Dr Morton’s is offering its very own X19 GT Test Kit for glucose intolerance.
This can be carried out in the safety of people’s own homes. These glucose intolerance tests involve blood samples that can be sent via post to be tested.
Dr Karen Morton, founder of Dr Morton’s, said: “Of course, a healthy diet and regular exercise are critical to preventing and controlling diabetes, but knowing that you have glucose intolerance could be the trigger to sorting out an improved diet, particularly if you are given the right advice.
“So, after a great deal of thought, Dr Morton’s has decided to start offering our patients what could be a lifesaving test. The result of such tests in no way say who will or will not get COVID-19, but it could be really helpful in improving your resilience and general health.”
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