Myths and Misconception of Diabetes Cleared by Dr Kalyan Gangopadhyay on World Diabetes Day

News Desk, News Nation 360 : The festive and joyous atmosphere usually prevails during this time of the year. The joy of being able to step out in the new normal is also exposing us to a number of infections besides the novel coronavirus and people with underlying health conditions are particularly at risk. 14 November of each year marks the celebration of World Diabetes Day, Dr Kalyan Gangopadhyay, Endocrinologist consultant of CMRI, talks about the myths and misconception of diabetes starting from food habits to precautions. 1. Are patients with diabetes at more risk of contracting diabetes? Till now we do not have any evidence that just by having diabetes a patient is more prone to develop COVID. However, if a patient with diabetes contracts COVID then the complication from COVID is higher than a patient without diabetes, 2. What precautions does a patient with diabetes take to prevent COVID infection? Wearing appropriate masks properly, social distancing, proper handwashing, avoiding crowds – in short, the usual precautions for COVID applies to the patient with diabetes perhaps with even more attention to detail. There are no other special precautions. There is no clear evidence that extra vitamins, minerals or Hydroxychloroquine are needed to prevent COVID. A healthy diet including vegetables, fruits and daily exercise does naturally improve the body's defences against all infections, 3. Because of social distancing issues morning walks are difficult to manage – what is the alternative? For patients with diabetes, walking does not have to be in the morning but can be done at any time of the day. One may split the time of walking into two or three times a day. Walking does not necessarily have to be outside but can be done in the terrace, verandah or inside the flat. Exercise bikes or treadmills can be made use of. A fixed routine helps in preventing swings of blood sugar. Many patients have reported a deterioration of their blood sugar levels because of the stoppage of their daily walks, 4. Does good blood sugar control reduce problems from COVID infection? Yes, good blood sugar control prior to COVID infection does help reduce serious complications from COVID infection. Hence, it is important that patients with diabetes pay even more attention to control their blood sugar levels in this pandemic situation, 5. Because of social distancing issues, many patients prefer not to go to hospitals or clinics for their usual outdoor consultation – what is the alternative? Although for a first-time consultation a face to face visit is always desirable, for patients who are already on follow up a teleconsultation can be done with the treating doctor. Some hospitals have started this facility and already a number of patients are utilising this facility, 6. Does COVID affect blood sugar levels? We do not know for sure if COVID independently affects the blood sugar level but any infection can upset the diabetes control. Moreover, hospitalised COVID patients are given steroid medications to help fight COVID, which raises blood sugar to very high levels. Hence most hospitalised patients with COVID infection are given multiple doses of insulin and may also be discharged on insulin.

Report : Anustup Kundu

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