Managing Diabetes During The Pandemic

Managing Diabetes During The Pandemic

Dr. Gireesh Kumar, Specialist- Internal Medicine, Aster Hospital Doha, Qatar

The COVID-19 infection is a double challenge for people with diabetes. Diabetes has been reported to be a risk factor for the severity of the disease and at the same time patients have to control glucose intake in a situation with a decreased and more variable food intake.

People with diabetes have less immunity than healthy people. When blood sugar levels remain high, the immune cells in first line defense mechanism will become inefficient to fight against the infection, allowing the infection to progress quickly and severely. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus and boost immune system.

Boost your immune system

  • Maintain your blood sugar readings at the target range agreed with your healthcare professional (generally fasting blood sugar of 80-130mg/dl and post prandial sugar <180mg/dl)
  • Your sugar targets depend on several factors. If you are not aware of the target, seek advice from your healthcare professional.
  • Remain well hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • Have a balanced diet as indicated by your physician
  • Ensure vaccinations are taken for the common flu and Pneumococcus disease
  • Maintain optimal body weight
  • Maintain regular physical activity even if you are staying at home
  • Maintain good sleep hygiene
  • Think positively and keep yourself busy

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Protective measures for people with diabetes

  • Maintain good glycemic levels
  • Ensure to take your blood pressure, cholesterol medications, as prescribed by your doctor
  • Follow the instructions of Government authorities by practicing social distancing, staying at home, avoiding crowds, parks and refraining from touching one another or common surfaces
  • Always use a face mask and protective gloves when visiting public areas (i.e. grocery shopping or attending an appointment), at work and even at home when there is a family gathering
  • Personal hygiene is extremely important for people with diabetes at this time of the virus outbreak. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based solution or sanitizer.
  • People with diabetes are prone to skin dehydration, so a hand cream prescribed by your physician can be used at night to prevent dryness caused by consistent use of sanitizer.
  • Prepare a list of your medications and the dosages in case of an emergency
  • Get adequate refills for medications, sufficient for at least two weeks and supplies for monitoring blood glucose at home.
  • Have a kit at home, to test your blood sugar if recommended by your healthcare professional
  • Have the contact information of your health care provider at hand so that you do not need to leave the house, if you fall ill.