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Staying Safe With Diabetes During COVID-19

Published on Aug 28, 2020 and last reviewed on Jan 09, 2022   -  4 min read

Abstract

Diabetic patients are prone to getting severe complications of COVID-19 if they get infected. Read this article and know how you can stay safe and healthy in times of COVID-19 pandemic.

Introduction:

The question that strikes our mind is why people with diabetes are at an increased risk of having severe COVID-19 illness. It is well known that in diabetes, total available sugar in the blood is not very well utilized by the cells. This higher than normal circulating blood sugar makes the immune system weaker and the person vulnerable. This is a vicious cycle that is mainly contributed by the following impaired immune response. Higher than normal blood sugar provides a good thriving bed for infectious agents. A dysfunctional immune system cannot fight off the existing infection efficiently, thus making it longer and tougher to heal. Both types of diabetes, type 1 and 2, puts a person at increased risk of contracting the infection followed by related secondary complications and hospitalization. This article attempts to address the issues and find ways to cope and take charge of your life with diabetes and effectively manage it to stay healthy and avoid unnecessary hospital trips. Thus decreasing the chances of getting exposed to patients or asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19.

Care at Home:

This situation of household responsibilities, as well as working from home with increased restrictions, has added to significant stress and pressure in our daily lives. In the current scenario, visiting a doctor is risky as well as challenging. A person with diabetes of any age group is at higher risk of getting infection leading to critical COVID-19 illness. Therefore, it is imperative that people belonging to this vulnerable group take special measures to keep themselves safe. Here are a few important points for consideration:

1) Stay Active -

Make a routine of at least 30 minutes of exercise, which includes some aerobic activity and deep breathing exercises, and be consistent with the same. It will not only help you maintain a healthy weight but optimize sugar levels too. It has been proven time and again in several studies that regular physical activity goes a long way in effective diabetes management. It is never too late to start exercising.

2) Optimal Hydration -

Diabetes dehydrates our bodies. Excessive sugar in the blood is excreted through urine and takes away lots of water and other essential electrolytes from our body. Therefore, it is important to drink enough water, which is at least 8 to 9 glasses (2.5 liters) in 24 hours, excluding tea and coffee.

3) Balanced Diet -

Staying homebound can make anyone give in to temptations. The best way is to never stock junk food items. Instead, stock up on healthy snacks such as whole wheat or multigrain crackers, fresh fruit, and nuts. Not only social distancing but distancing from sugary and high-fat foods is important too. Also, control your portions because too much of anything is bad even if it is healthy food.

4) Get Enough Sleep -

Since you are home, aim to get at least 6 to 7 hours of sleep every night. You can also try for a power nap in the afternoon if that works for you. Adequate sleep helps in boosting immunity, thus increases the ability to fight off infection.

5) Manage Stress and Anxiety -

It is very much easy to fall prey to depression because of limited or no interaction with friends and colleagues. One can start feeling lonely. Keeping distance from near and dear ones can be stressful too. Staying calm and positive is as important as other things. This can be achieved by meditation, keeping a journal, and expressing thoughts and feelings by writing them down are a great way to stay balanced. Remember, stress can make your sugars go haywire.

Preventive Measures from COVID-19 for Diabetic Patients:

Do not change the dose or stop taking your regular diabetes or blood pressure medications or Insulin in case you get infected with COVID-19.

It is all the more important to keep your sugars in the normal range. If you have any doubts, then speak with a doctor. Be watchful of any changes that are occurring in your body so as to get timely management. If going to a clinic is not possible, then one can use the facility of telemedicine.

Along with taking preventive measures for COVID-19, it is important not to overlook other things.

  1. Do not ignore taking regular care of yourself.
  2. Keep your feet clean, wear comfortable footwear, and keep nails short. Use a lubricant to moisturize the skin and prevent cracking.
  3. Watch for any sores in the mouth or on lips.

All in all, prioritize natural immune boosters such as regular exercise, adequate sleep, and citrus-based fruits (lemon, orange, etc.). Be vigilant of any unusual changes or symptoms in your body and know when to call your doctor. Above all, stay positive.

Last reviewed at:
09 Jan 2022  -  4 min read

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