As per some prophecies, plague and leprosy are simply the advance warnings of dangers coming up in the future. The dangers we talk about are the 39 communicable diseases which have killed a lot of people over the years such as plague and leprosy. An eminent Nobel winning scientist had once said, ‘The single biggest threat to mankind apart from man, is the virus.’
We are witnessing a lot of drastic changes globally in the wake of the Coronavirus. Markets are shut, public life is disrupted and there is a great deal of panic. People are under stress due to the ongoing lockdown. There is uncertainty about when life will return to normalcy. The Covid-19 is a huge calamity and we are yet to see how many people get affected by the virus.
In such a scenario, any pre-existing medical condition is likely to become riskier due to the pandemic. Covid-19 is caused by a novel coronavirus and the disease has been on the global scene for just about 3 months so far. We haven’t yet been able to study it in depth or understand the full impact of this new virus. In fact, it remains to be seen whether it is a one-time outbreak that will be contained and eliminated with time or it will linger on to become a recurring annual outbreak. There are several pre-existing conditions known as co-morbidities that increase the risk of infection among the patients. Whether you have Type 1 diabetes or Type 2 diabetes, the risk is bound to increase. Similarly, patients suffering from cardiac diseases, respiratory illnesses or other problems of kidney or liver are also more at risk from the virus.
Since most of the elderly people suffer from such diseases, they are highly vulnerable to Covid-19. According to data of Covid-19 so far, the CFR (confirmed mortality rate) among diabetics is 7.3% compared to the CFR of 5.3% among normal people. In fact, the CFR among diabetics infected with Covid-19 has gone up to 10.5% globally and the numbers are being updated on a daily basis. Hence, the diabetics are facing double the risk of infection and fatality compared to healthy people.
Diabetes can not only make the condition more severe, but, it also delays the recovery process among Covid-19 patients. It compromises the body’s immunity, resulting in more complications. It is important for diabetes patients to regularly monitor their sugar levels att home and if there is a spike consistently for two three times then the patient should be taken to a hospital. It is vital to undertake self-monitoring. Further, you need to have a backup plan ready. You should stock essential food items, water and medical supplies to last you anywhere from 30-90 days depending upon the situation. In case you are using assistive devices such as sensor based pumps etc, you should stock the necessary items at home.
Adherence to protocols is necessary. Authorities have issued guidelines related to hand-washing frequently, using alcohol based hand-sanitizers and observing the six feet of social distancing etc. An important thing to avoid is visiting any live animal market. You must not touch the surfaces of any animals or meat on display in such places. As an advisory, we would recommend not cooking meat for now. International or even domestic travel is already not allowed these days and we need to remain calm as we are dealing with a very serious and deadly pathogen. To boost our immunity, we need to pay great attention to our nutrition and intake of proteins, minerals and vitamin C. Exercise helps in immunity so whether you do weight training, bench presses, walks or lung opening exercises, they are all helpful in fighting the viral infection. Covid 19 patients should home quarantine for 21 days after returning from hospital. They should be kept in isolation during this period and their diabetes level monitored. Health authorities should be kept in the know about the condition of such people.
Another important thing is that people under 25 years of age and children, even if they have diabetes and show symptoms of Covid-19, need not be rushed to the hospital. In most cases, the symptoms are mild and isolation along with basic treatment as per the directions of healthcare providers should be adequate. Arrangement should be in place to transfer them to a medical facility if situation worsens or complications are seen.While the medical infrastructure is available and ready to assist, it is better to use those resources only for critically ill patients so that more lives can be saved.
Let’s keep calm and fight the pandemic together!
Dr. Debasis Basu is a Diabetologist and General Physician in Salt Lake, Kolkata and has an experience of 31 years in these fields. Dr. DEBASIS BASU practices at Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals in Salt Lake, Kolkata. He completed MBBS from NRS Medical College, (CU) in 1989 and DM from Utkal University, (Cuttack) in 1996. He is a member of American Diabetes Association: member, European Society of Cardiology(Preventive Cardiology) Member Cardiology Society of India : member. Some of the services provided by the doctor are: Type 1 Diabetes Treatment, Health Checkup (General), Medicine, Preventive Medicine and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Treatment etc.