COVID-19 – EFFECTS AND CONSEQUENCES ON DIABETICS
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose/blood sugar is too high or too low. The main source of energy, glucose, comes from the food we eat. Over time, having too much glucose in your body can cause health issues. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps the glucose in your food to get into your cells and get converted into energy. When the body does not make enough insulin or stops making insulin, this glucose stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells.
Diabetics need to take medicines or inject insulin multiple times a day to control their glucose levels. Uncontrolled glucose levels can lead to severe health problems like kidney failure, heart disease, retinopathy, dental disease, nerve damage, foot problems and loss of limbs.
According to experts, people with diabetes are more likely to have serious complications from COVID-19, especially if their diabetic condition is not managed optimally. The odds of a COVID-19 related hospitalization for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics are three- to four-fold higher than patients without it.
There is indeed a higher risk of Covid-related damage for diabetic people. Dexamethasone, a drug used to treat COVID-19 infection, can raise blood sugar levels to dangerous levels. Viral infections can also increase internal swelling or inflammation in diabetics which could contribute to more severe levels of complications.
Unemployment and loss of health care had a direct consequence of increase in complications in diabetic patients during the pandemic.
To avoid the deadly consequences of COVID-19, diabetics should:
- follow all CDC guidelines to protect themselves and others. They should get vaccinated. They should get the booster dose too if they are due.
- get their flu shot as well to avoid any seasonal viral infection.
- follow all the protocols of the pandemic.
- cover their nose and mouth with a mask any time they have to leave home.
- wash their hands regularly and frequently.
- stay at least six feet away from people who don’t live in their household.
- stay active and walk around at home for at least 20 minutes 2-3 times a day.
- join an online exercise class for simple muscle strengthening exercises.
- keep a Glucometer and Oximeter handy to check sugar and oxygen levels regularly.
- take regular online consultations with their primary doctor, diabetologist, endocrinologist and nutritionist. This will prove very helpful in keeping a watch on their diabetes.
- consume healthy food like green leafy vegetables, nuts, protein rich foods, fruit like berries and cherries and avoid foods rich in carbohydrates and sugar.
- keep diabetes in check by taking all prescribed medications regularly.
- indulge in self-care activities like yoga, meditation and other forms of relaxation exercises for mental wellness.
- get adequate sleep for at least 7-8 hours a day. It helps in building a good immune system for the body’s defense mechanism.
- cope positively with stress and anxiety by developing certain skills or hobbies, reading, gardening, etc.
- stay connected with their loved ones. This helps reduce anxiety and instances of feeling down, if any.
Following these steps will neither cure your Covid infection nor guarantee immunity from contracting it; however, it will surely improve your overall health and wellness.
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