Honors Project - Open Access
Of patients with COVID-19, 94 percent of deaths are patients with pre-existing conditions of pneumonia, hypertension, and diabetes. Current research shows the comorbidity of patients with COVID-19 and Type 2 Diabetes. Despite a growing literature on the interaction of these two diseases, most research focuses on physiological interactions. There remains a pressing need for research on the biosocial mechanisms contributing to the interaction between Diabetes and COVID-19. This research focuses on the social conditions constructed during COVID-19 that influence the care and management of Type 2 Diabetes. To investigate the topic, I conducted interviews with healthcare providers and community leaders in Taos New Mexico, having rates of Type 2 Diabetes higher than the national average. I argue that the transfer of diabetes care to online platforms changes the doctor-patient relationship and diminishes the human connection and empathy needed for effective chronic disease care. The subsequent lack of human interaction and the resulting isolation and alienation during the pandemic hinders the necessary lifestyle changes for managing Type 2 Diabetes. The drastic changes in daily life and community roles transform and limit the mechanisms to which we create meaning, leaving diabetic patients the task of constructing new meaning while managing a chronic disease. The high rates of morbidity among COVID-19 patients with diabetes motivate research into the social factors affecting the disease interaction.
Heino, Lena K., "Doc in the Box: Diabetes Care and Management during COVID-19" (2021). Anthropology Honors Projects. 35.
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