Amid COVID, responsibility of diabetics to maintain healthy lifestyle gets bigger: Doctors on World Diabetes Day

ANI
·3-min read
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By Divya Malhotra

New Delhi [India], November 14 (ANI): It is a double whammy for Sushil on Diwali. A Type-II diabetic, Sushil can't even taste sweets, but this Diwali, he is feeling the sickest.

His temperature shot up to 103 degrees Fahrenheit. This was not seasonal, but recently Sushil was tested coronavirus positive. "I was already tensed with my high blood sugar level. Didn't taste sweets of late and then here I'm isolated, stuck to the bed," said Sushil.

A few days back, he lost an elderly diabetic member of the family to COVID-19. "We are afraid," said Sushil's wife.

Experts say until the vaccine is found, precautions are the only way out to avoid the COVID and for the diabetic patients, the responsibility gets bigger as they not only have to maintain social distancing and wear masks but ensure a healthy lifestyle, followed by the norm of regular check-ups to stay out of the danger zone.

In fact, primary health care workers must be trained and equipped to conduct adequate health checks, including blood pressure and blood sugar of all visiting patients, feel experts.

A few days ago, the medical fraternity had called to raise awareness about the lifestyle disease on Diwali as the festival of light and "sweets" coincide with World Diabetes Day this year, more so with the impact of the coronavirus.

Diabetes is a medical condition, which happens due to insufficient production and secretion of insulin, responsible for controlling glucose levels in the blood, from the pancreas. The disease can be controlled at the initial level by making lifestyle changes but cannot be cured completely and lasts a lifetime.

In that case, if one gets affected by the coronavirus, the risk of life increases.

Dr Vinit Bandekar, MD Physician, Jr ESI in Delhi, explains to ANI, "Anyone with diabetes who notices symptoms of the COVID-19 should contact a doctor as soon as possible. When the body is trying to fight off an illness, the stored glucose is released into the bloodstream to give energy. In individuals with diabetes, this can be problematic as their body cannot produce enough insulin to deal with the release of glucose and their blood sugar levels might spike. These severe highs and lows in their blood sugar level can lead to complications like diabetic ketoacidosis or hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state, and pneumonia."

According to research, India is infamous as the diabetes capital of the world. One in five is diagnosed with diabetes and the shocking fact is India will remain one of the most afflicted countries till 2030, or even until 2045.

Senior doctors claim people do not realise the high sugar levels or constant sugar fluctuations on account of the disease takes a toll on their body by inviting serious comorbidities of the heart, kidney and liver, besides sapping their energy levels.

"Although the COVID-19 virus has toned down its virulence, treating patients with diabetes is still a challenge. Diabetic patients are prone to cytokine storms, which is an excessive inflammatory reaction to the body," says Dr Shuchin Bajaj, Founder and Director of Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals.

Describing the concerns, Amritah Sandhu, Founder and Director of NGO Care India, says the widespread unawareness regarding the disease is one of the major hurdles. "There is a need to evolve a comprehensive diabetes management strategy, also entailing knowledge dissemination and exercise in terms of following a healthy lifestyle."

The disease considered as a "breeding ground" for extra health complications has proven to be vulnerable and an oppressive challenge in the COVID pandemic. (ANI)