Diabetes Management Critical to Reducing Covid-19 Mortality Rate: Medical Expert

“Keeping Diabetes Mellitus under control is the best healthcare strategy available for diabetic patients in the time of Covid-19 pandemic, as over 70% of the people who succumbed to the infection in India either had diabetes or both diabetes and hypertension,” said Dr. C. R. Mahesh Babu, Consultant, Department of Diabetology, Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre. He added that it is estimated that about 50% of the diabetic patients who lost their lives to Covid had poorly managed diabetes.

Citing reports, Dr Babu pointed out that Covid-19 is found to have the potential to induce diabetes in healthy people. Hence it is important that the healthy individuals strictly follow personal hygiene, social distancing, and other Covid-19 guidelines to protect themselves from getting infected, and from becoming vulnerable to diabetes.

Dr Babu was addressing a Press Conference, organised as part of the World Diabetes Day 2020, which falls on November 14 every year. The event also marked the launch of Diabetic Home Care package of Meenakshi Mission Hospital. The package offers consultations and services of diabetologists, physicians, specialists, physiotherapists, dieticians, and paramedical staff at the residences of patients. It also includes routine investigations such as urine analysis, fasting lipid profile, liver function test, renal function test and thyroid function test.

Dr Babu said that diabetes is one of the most common chronic comorbidities across the globe – and more so in India. About 82% of the Covid-19 deaths in India were linked to comorbidities such as Diabetes Mellitus, hypertension, and obesity – with diabetes being the single largest contributor. Better management of diabetes alone could have saved a significant number of lives lost.

He informed the media that Covid-19 infection could not only worsen the status of existing diabetic conditions, but it can also lead to the onset of diabetes. Though exactly how Covid-19 infection makes people diabetic is not established clearly, the medical community believes that it was the result of the damage caused by the infection to the pancreatic beta cells, which in turn compromise the secretion of insulin.

Another hypothesis is that the intensive steroid therapy given to the Covid-19 patients to modulate the immune system could cause the development of diabetes.

Dr Babu opined that the pandemic has shown the public the importance of personal hygiene, immunity, and the need to keep chronic lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity at bay by following necessary lifestyle modifications, and, in the case of diabetic patients, the need to keep diabetes under control.

He said that there are over 77 million diabetic patients in India, and the prevalence of the condition is increasing at an alarming rate. However, For every person diagnosed with diabetes there remains one who goes undetected. In Tamil Nadu, the prevalence of diabetes in urban areas is to the tune of 15-18% and in rural areas, 6-8%.

Among the major causes of diabetes are lack of exercise, stress, wrong food (especially the excessive intake of white sugar, refined rice, refined wheat, and processed food), obesity – especially around the waist, and lifestyle changes.

Dr Babu stressed on the need for the early detection of the disease that seldom shows any symptoms of its presence until the condition becomes very severe. To improve the rate of detection people should attend screening camps even if they do not have symptoms. Timely identification and diagnosis are important for early treatment and better sugar control.

Meenakshi Mission Hospital launches Diabetic Home Care that provides consultation and routine checkup services at patient’s residence Please contact for appointment: 7708353777 / 73588 88222

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