COVID-19 AND DIABETES: IS IT A TRIGGER?

Managing diabetes in Covid19

Dr Titty Mary Thomas, Specialist Family Medicine, Aster JLT Clinics

People with Diabetes and affected with COVID-19 are at a greater risk of a worse prognosis and mortality.

Given the high worldwide prevalence of Diabetes, these individuals represent a large vulnerable segment of the COVID-19 population.

The poorer prognosis of people with Diabetes is the likely consequence of the syndromic nature of the disease with old age and other co-morbidities like hypertension, obesity and cardiovascular disease, which all contribute to increase the risk of infection in these individuals.

It is important to note that having Diabetes itself doesn’t increase the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus. Rather, it increases the risk of complications and death if COVID-19 is contracted.

Not only does COVID-19 have the ability to worsen existing Diabetes, it is found that the virus may be triggering a new-onset of Diabetes.

It is believed that the virus damages certain kinds of cells — known as beta cells — that are found in the pancreas.  The destruction of these beta cells prevent the body from making insulin — triggering Hyperglycemia (or high blood sugar). Because, in this case, the body needs glucose as energy (but cannot use it), it turns to Ketones, chemicals the liver makes when the body does not have enough insulin, for energy. The use of Ketones leads to production of acids, which can also lead to a condition called Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), a potentially fatal condition.

Poor glycemic control is a risk factor for serious infections and adverse outcomes. However, the reverse is also true and the risk of infection, including bacterial Pneumonia, can be reduced through good glycemic control.

Infections cause loss of glycemic control, and treatment of Hyperglycemia is difficult during inter current disease with fever, unstable food intake and use of drugs like glucocorticoids in patients with respiratory problems. To maintain optimal glycemic control, blood glucose needs to be monitored continuously, basis which anti-diabetic treatment should be adjusted.

How to Stay Safe from COVID-19 virus if you Have Diabetes

  • Monitor your blood sugar levels and temperature regularly.
  • Stay in touch with your doctor and see to it that you have an adequate stock of medication and other supplies for monitoring your blood sugar level at home. If you notice any fluctuation, consult the doctor immediately.
  • Stay hydrated, eat fresh fruits and vegetables to boost immunity.
  • Social distancing and quarantine (saying no to mass gatherings) can reduce your risk of COVID-19 infection.
  • Pay close attention to the changes occurring in the body as that could be a sign of infection.

It is highly recommended to consult your doctor about any changes that you may feel. You can get your medicines delivered to your doorstep in UAE with Aster’s e-pharmacy. Check Asteronline or call/whatsapp +971800700600