Level of diabetes control correlates with adverse outcomes of COVID-19: experts
It is recommended that persons with diabetes, and associated conditions such as hypertension and heart diseases, take the COVID-19 vaccines as early as possible. These conditions put persons at a higher risk of complications if infected with COVID-19, according to A. Ramachandran, chairman and managing director of Dr. A. Ramachandran’s Diabetes Hospitals (ARH).
Speaking at a webinar on ‘Diabetes Management during COVID-19’ held as a part of The Hindu Wellness Series presented by Diahome and ARH, he said non-COVID-19 medical care was a casualty during the pandemic.
“A large number of patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases, who need regular medical care, are suffering due to the pandemic for more than a year. These diseases, especially diabetes, are also age-related and increase the risk of complications and adverse undesirable outcomes in COVID-19 infection,” he said.
It was estimated that about 80% of deaths during COVID-19 were among people with comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases, he said, adding that their study among 1,000 patients, who were hospitalised for COVID-19 in Chennai, found that mortality was twice as high in diabetics when compared to those without diabetes, and all complications were significantly higher among diabetes patients.
“We also found that the level of control of diabetes was directly correlated with adverse outcomes of COVID-19 infections. Therefore, keeping diabetes under good control during COVID-19 is of utmost importance,” he said.
Nanditha Arun, director and consultant diabetologist, ARH, said higher the HbA1C, which indicates blood glucose level for the three months prior to testing, increases the risk of complications and death due to COVID-19. HbA1C of more than eight indicates poor glycemic control.
“In previously non-diabetics, there are new manifestations of high glucose that we find in some patients in COVID-19 infections — stress-induced hyperglycemia and new onset diabetes — which is peculiar,” she said.
As a post COVID-19 recommendation, she said patients with diabetes should check blood glucose regularly, get a good diet plan and start exercise under medical advice.
Arun Raghavan, director and consultant diabetologist, ARH, highlighting the importance of vaccination, said those with diabetes, hypertension and other comorbidities, who were in the high-risk group, should get vaccinated at the earliest.
Elaborating on Diahome (Diabetes Care Comes Home), an app from ARH, he said, it could provide comprehensive diabetes care at home.
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