People with diabetes are able to fight off the corona virus disease if they control and manage their blood sugar levels well.
According to the Diabetes Management Resource Centre (DMRC) Founder, Duncun Motanya people with diabetes should not live in fear due to the rising reports linking their conditions with the severity of coronavirus infection.
“A lot has been said about this subject and there’s certainly some panic among people living with Diabetes Mellitus. While there’s some truth in this, it’s important to note that, it’s mainly uncontrolled diabetes that lowers the immunity of the patients with diabetes,” said Motanya.
He however, urged diabetics to observe high levels of personal hygiene, avoid crowded places and to ensure that their blood sugar is well controlled, as well as taking care of their general health care noting that the measures will prepare their bodies to fight the Covid-19 disease.
“Do not ignore any slight symptom you feel. Stop self-management. Avoid taking medications that are not backed by a doctor’s prescription and consult your regular doctor any time you feel there’s a change in your general health,” advised Motanya.
In a press statement sent to newsrooms on Tuesday, Motanya also called on the Ministry of Health to help inspire confidence among the diabetic community by addressing misinformation on the link between diabetes and Covid-19
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) data shows Kenya has a total of 552,400 adult patients with diabetes, 2.2 per cent prevalence from an adult population of over 25 million. It’s estimated that type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95 per cent of reported cases in the country and globally.
According to DMRC, high blood sugar levels and a persistent state of inflammation are the main factors that make it difficult for people with diabetes to recover from Covid-19 and other illnesses, while the low-level state of inflammation could also make healing of wounds slower, leading to a fast spread of ringworms, oral thrash and worsening other symptoms.
“This happens because with prolonged periods of high levels of sugar in the blood, the white blood cells that produce immunoglobulin get damaged by the excess glucose and fail to multiply adequately to make the immune elements. This happens with every other chronic disease, not just Diabetes Mellitus,” he said.
Motanya added that a person is considered normal when their blood sugar level is under 7.7mmol/l two hours after eating
According to the World Health Organisation, older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart diseases, lung diseases, cancer and diabetes are the most likely to develop more serious illness when they contract coronavirus.
In April this year, DMRC launched a digital platform to help diabetic patients improve their health by emphasizing on the importance of eating a balanced diet to cope with disruptions of daily routine and lifestyle brought upon by Covid-19.
The DMRC is leveraging on virtual health experts to guide patients on best ways to manage or prevent other nutrition-related chronic diseases like obesity and cardiovascular diseases.
By Bernadette Khaduli