What is the Link between Diabetes and COVID-19?
Covid-19 affects people of all age groups. However, people with underlying health problems like diabetes, heart problems, asthma, etc are more venerable to complications due to coronavirus.
Diabetes is a complex condition wherein the body’s sensitivity to insulin is reduced. Insulin resistance leads to inflammation in the body and can subsequently cause insulin conflict. The other organs in the body get affected in this vicious cycle.
However, diabetes does not directly make you prone to COVID-19, but it increases the risk of serious complications.
When people with diabetes develop a viral infection, it becomes difficult to treat them due to fluctuations in their blood glucose levels and other complications.
The reason for worse prognosis in people with diabetes is likely to be multifactorial, thus reflecting the syndromic nature of diabetes.
What should people with diabetes know about Covid 19 and what they should do to protect themselves?
Dr. Dheeraj Kapoor, Head of Endocrinology, Artemis Hospitals Gurgaon said, “The precautions which a diabetic patient should take are not different from a non-diabetic patient. However, it is important to understand that in diabetic people, the capacity of injection or immunity is decreased and it is more in the patients whose sugar level is poorly controlled.”
“The diabetic patients whose blood sugar level is controlled might not be at a higher level of risk than the non-diabetic patient. But someone whose sugar levels are poorly controlled can get the infection of COVID-19 and then it can be more severe in them, so they need to be very careful,” said Dr. Kapoor.
Precautions and hygiene like hand washing, wearing masks, using sanitizers are common for both diabetic and non-diabetic patients.
Are people with diabetes more likely to get COVID-19?
“Diabetic population are more vulnerable but apart from that if diabetic patients have comorbidities like kidney disease, heart disease, or have hypertension or heart failure, and patients with diabetes plus other such complications are at higher risk as well as the mortality is also higher in these patients,” said Dr. Kapoor.
What should people with diabetes do if they think that they are developing symptoms of COVID-19?
According to Dr. Kapoor, in people with diabetes, the disease Covid-19 is more severe. If you have a sore throat, running nose or loss of taste and smell or if you get any viral symptom the first thing you should do is to go and have a test.”
“What I feel is that as the burden of COVID-19 is decreasing, we should not wait for the breathlessness to seconds, so diabetic patients whose sugar control is poorly controlled are more prone and those people should not take any chance,” Dr. Kapoor further added.
Healthy nutrition is an essential component of diabetes management. What type of foods diabetic people must have in their diet and what foods they must avoid?
“Any infection would flare up with poor sugar control in diabetic patients. During the lockdown as we were all home, we were eating all kinds of savories and we were not going out because of the fear of covid-19 so there was hardly any walk or exercise, which affected our body in different ways, especially in the diabetic patients” said Dr. Kapoor.
Dr. Kapoor added, “Diabetics should take care of themselves more than ever before. They should strictly avoid sweets, fried or juice and should have just simple ‘dal, roti, chawal’, along with plenty of greens. It is also suggested to have a lot of fiber and fluid like water or milk but no juice. Besides that, they can have pumpkin seeds and nuts.