The SARS-CoV-2 epidemic is mainly taking a toll on people with comorbid conditions. Persons above 50 years with diabetes have become ideal hosts for the coronavirus to infect, thrive and in the end, prove fatal, the public health officials and researchers have been warning frequently.

It becomes much riskier if such persons have more than one comorbid condition like hypertension, obesity or heart disease along with diabetes. So far, Telangana has reported 25 fatalities, of which 13 persons had diabetes while 17 had diabetes along with hypertension.

Even worldwide figures have indicated that diabetes, along with other conditions like hypertension or obesity, has become a fatal combination for individuals, when it comes to fighting the coronavirus.

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An international paper — ‘Practical recommendations for the management of diabetes in patients with Covid-19’ — published in The Lancet a few days ago by 20 top specialists from across the world, including India, said “evidence from epidemiological observations in regions heavily affected by SARS-CoV-2 and reports from the CDC, the United States, and other national health centres and hospitals showed that the risk of a fatal outcome from Covid-19 is up to 50 per cent higher in patients with diabetes than in those who do not have diabetes”.

Does this mean that there is no chance for diabetics to fight the coronavirus? Senior doctors in Hyderabad said diabetes and hypertension patients must be conscious about their condition and focus on controlling it.

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“The priority for all diabetics must be to get their sugar levels under control. This is the fastest and best way to improve body immunity immediately rather than depending on long-term strategies like taking Zinc and Vitamin C supplements. They should also keep a tab on HbA1c because if it is more than 7 per cent, it affects oxygen transportation in the body and tends to impact lungs,” says Dr PV Rao, senior endocrinologist and former Head, NIMS, Endocrinology.

The senior endocrinologist pointed out that diabetics must also be wary of other comorbid conditions like obesity and hypertension. “Diabetes itself weakens the body immunity in many ways. If you add other medical conditions such as obesity, heart disease or hypertension, it becomes very difficult for such patients to recover from an ailment like coronavirus,” Dr Rao said.

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The endocrinologist pointed out that diabetics who have not yet been affected with SARS-CoV-2 virus should intensify effort to control their sugar levels as a primary prevention of Covid-19 disease.

“Continuation and adherence to anti-diabetic drugs prescribed by the doctor, control of blood pressure and lipids are very important. Wherever it is possible, be in touch with your personal doctor for any update on medications,” Dr Rao said. #KhabarLive

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