In India, diabetes affects 7.42 crore adults and accounts for 6.48 lakh deaths annually, as per the recent estimates of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). Urban Indians often fall prey to the perfect troika for the emergence of diabetes – obesity, lack of physical activity, and dietary practices with excess calories. Plus, the emergence of Covid-19 has made it even riskier for those with diabetes. But there is a way to ensure holistic diabetes care during Covid-19?
The answer is yes! While the intensity of the pandemic has been on a gradual decline, the implications of the damage are beyond immediate comprehension. The 2019-21 report of the National Family Health Survey, commissioned by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, yields some eye-opening statistics. The findings indicate that a substantial proportion of our adult population carries risk factors like obesity, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
The physiological damage caused by Covid-19 can have long-term implications of increased cardio-metabolic risk, which is gradually being understood as long-Covid-19. In the present scenario, the importance of healthy lifestyle practices, and proactive management of cardio-metabolic risk, cannot be emphasized enough.
With an active realization of the situation, it is essential to put our knowledge and wisdom into practice. Diabetes care during Covid-19 or even in general, is not just about taking medication, following a special diet, or a specific workout regime. Good diabetes care includes all these measures sustained over the long-term, aimed at preventing complications and maintaining a good quality of life.
A holistic approach to diabetes care entails managing the risk of complications, a sustained effort towards healthy lifestyle practices, and ensuring regular health check-ups. Those with diabetes should follow the ABCDE of good diabetes care, and be guided by their physicians for individualized goals on these aspects:
Long-term sustenance of blood-glucose levels at the desired goal. Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly.
Maintenance of blood pressure at desired levels. Monitor blood pressure levels regularly as well.
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Achieving control of lipid levels through effective lifestyle practices and recommended treatment.
Following healthy dietary practices to maintain healthy body weight, optimum nutrition, and good metabolic control. Avoid foods with a high glycemic index, high fats, and calories. Restrict alcohol, red meat, and tobacco consumption.
Ensuring sufficient physical activity, as recommended by your physician, to ensure an active lifestyle, maintain muscle mass, and good health.
Beyond ABCDE, good social and family support becomes important in sustaining a healthier journey. With easier access to self-care, regular tracking of blood pressure and blood glucose levels through home-based monitoring can be helpful. This self-care practice helps in not only sustaining proactiveness and motivation, but also in staying vigilant about any new complications.