Diabetes and Covid 19: Self-care tips to manage the condition amid pandemic

When you get diabetes, not only does your body’s blood sugar levels get affected but the insulin production level also gets compromised. People with high or unmanaged blood sugar levels have less than normal blood flow and the body has to work harder in order to harness nutrients and heal. Owing to a weakened immune system, people with diabetes are prone to catch infections and may get sick because of Covid-19, and take a longer time to recover, say experts.

“Reportedly, preliminary data from China has revealed that those with diabetes and other pre-existing conditions like heart problems may encounter fatal health complications or even loss of life if they get infected with Covid-19. Various studies have also confirmed that patients can get diabetes after getting infected with Covid-19 and even after they recover,” said Dr Kapil Agarwal (general surgeon) Apollo Spectra Delhi, Nehru Enclave.

A study published in the European Journal Of Clinical Nutrition suggested that diabetics who get COVID-19 are at risk of a severe disease course and mortality. Several factors like impaired immune response, heightened inflammatory response and even hypercoagulable state are responsible for increased disease severity. Not only this, pre-existing comorbidities tied to diabetes such as hypertension, coronary artery disease, and chronic kidney disease further worsen the prognosis. Even hypoglycaemia may occur during the treatment of diabetes and negatively impact the clinical outcomes.

Those with diabetes must follow these essential tips during the pandemic to stay fit, mentioned Dr Agarwal.

Stick to a well-balanced diet

Try to eat mindfully and ensure that you include protein, good fats, and vitamins in the diet. If you have diabetes, then stay away from food that is high in carbohydrates, calories, and sugar. This means you have eat fresh fruits, vegetables, pulses and legumes. Say no to junk, spicy, oily, processed, and foods with additives.

Exercise on a daily basis

It is the need of the hour to stay safe at home and exercise. Opt for walking, aerobics, yoga, planks, push-ups, and pull-ups. Speak to your doctor about the exercises that you can do at home. Do not forget to stretch throughout the day. If you are working from home then work out while sitting at your desk.

Proper meal planning and timing

You can plan your meals with the help of a dietician. Make a list of food items that you have to eat and delete from your diet. You must buy food or snacks only after reading the nutrition label. Avoid foods that are high in salt and calories. Include a bowl of salad or soup to help you deal with insulin resistance.

Do not skip your medication

If you have pre-existing diabetes or insulin resistance, then be regular with your medication. Do not self-medicate. Avoid being around sick people and strictly follow Covid protocol. Make sure you wear a mask, maintain social distance and sanitise your hands from time to time. You will have to monitor your diabetes and stay in touch with your doctor if you notice any fluctuations in the blood sugar levels or changes in the body.

Follow a proper sleep routine

Resting can lower cortisol (a stress hormone) which is indirectly responsible for high blood sugar levels. A minimum of eight hours of sleep is essential for people to stay active and energised.

Stay stress-free

You can do so by doing meditation and yoga. Take out some quality time for yourself, do not sit lonely, and try to mix around with other family members.