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COVID 19 And Diabetes: Is Post-COVID Diabetes A Concern In India?

  • timeline Dr. Sreelekha Daruvuri
  • 3 Min Read
  • Fact Checked

The COVID 19 infection is primarily a respiratory one but studies have proven that it can affect other organs like the kidney and the heart. The symptoms of COVID 19 are present for a shorter time but Long COVID 19 sequelae lingers for more than a few months causing physical and mental stress to the recovering individuals. Unfortunately, during the second wave in the country, there were a slew of patients that also reported abnormal sugar levels. You may be wondering if there’s any relationship between COVID 19 and Diabetes? How does COVID 19 affect diabetes patients?

It is known that diabetes is a chronic condition that affects multiple organs of the body and can present with a multitude of symptoms such as fatigability, weight loss, increased appetite and tiredness. Indians have a natural genetic predisposition to diabetes. With the pandemic there has been a change of lifestyle, foods habits and sleep schedules. All of these have a combined impact on development of prediabetes and diabetes . People with existing diabetes faced difficulties in controlling their sugar levels 0 the reason being stress or change of lifestyle during the lockdown period.

Does COVID 19 cause diabetes?

There is no evidence as to how COVID 19 causes diabetes. There are few mechanisms that are thought to be associated with development of abnormal sugar levels and diabetes. The coronavirus attacks pancreatic beta cells which produces insulin leading to destruction of beta cells. They also disrupt the function of remaining beta cells. 

The virus also triggers an immune response in the form of cytokines and other chemical substances that attack the beta cells. This inflammatory response might/can also impair the ability of the beta cells to respond to blood glucose levels. In few studies it is seen that the cytokines will not let the liver and muscle use glucose properly which leads to insulin resistance and hence leading to diabetes. That being said, we need more studies to find a correlation between COVID 19 and diabetes.

Steps to prevent diabetes

COVID 19 And Diabetes

Risk of Diabetes in COVID 19 infected individuals is not proportional to the severity of the infection.

There is a possibility for individuals to have prediabetes or diabetes before a COVID 19 infection but they are not aware. Steroids that may be given to the patient can also trigger diabetes especially if they are in the prediabetic stage.

If there is loss of weight during the COVID-19 infection, diet and exercises are to be done to regain the weight lost by building muscles. Exercises like walking, cycling, jogging can be done to improve insulin sensitivity of the body. But keep in mind take it “slow and steady” – especially in the first few days of recovery. Your diet should include more fruits and vegetables and home made food with salads, pulses and good amounts of liquids. A customized diet plan is recommended as diet requirements are different for each and every one.

A routine visit with a general physician should be planned within two weeks of recovery and again after a month which should also include a blood sugar test. Follow up should be continued for 3-6 months to identify any initial signs. If there are symptoms like frequent urination, thirst, weight loss, fatigue, consultation with a doctor is mandated without delay as diabetes and prediabetes can be controlled with diet and lifestyle changes.

Diabetes is a chronic condition that needs to be managed regularly to avoid complications. With MFine, you can keep on top of your treatment, with the 3-Month Diabetes Care Plan. The goal is to reduce your blood sugar levels – not by increasing the medicines, but by decreasing them. This helps in reversal as well. From consultations with top diabetologists and meal planning with dieticians to blood tests and progress monitoring, your health can be cared for effectively.

  • timeline
  • Written by

    Dr. Sreelekha Daruvuri

Primary Care Physician

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