With a recent study showing average diabetes control level in Chennai reaching heights that experts call ‘poorly managed’, local doctors, in addition to stating that there has seen an increase in the number of patients, said the pandemic and subsequent shutdowns can be a cause for the same.
“The frightening high level of HbA1c in Chennai is a matter of grave concern. To keep the glucose level under check, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, follow a proper diet, regular exercise, and monitor the diabetes control levels at regular intervals. Uncontrolled diabetes damages vital organs like the heart, kidney, eyes, and can prove to be fatal,” said Dr DK Sriram, Medical Director from Hindu Mission Hospital. High levels of HbA1c can put diabetic patients at risk for stroke, heart attack, and other diabetic complications.
Local doctors agree with the findings, stating that they have found high HbA1c levels in their patients over the last months, and said the conditions of the pandemic are what have caused this increase.
“During the pandemic, there has been a lot of stress-eating, and a general increase in sedentary lifestyles. Add to this the fact that there has been less access to healthy food variants, forcing people to consume more of refined products, and I have seen patients that were doing well earlier come with high HbA1c levels in the recent months,” said Dr Spoorthi Arun, internal medicine physician, Promed Hospital. In addition to this, the shutdown has also disrupted sleeping patterns, which affects blood glucose levels in an immediate way. Pandemic-related stress is also another cause for high blood glucose levels, she added. Additionally, many patients were unable to consult their physicians owing to fear of visiting hospitals in the initial few months of the lockdown for their regular check-up.
“What we’ve learned from the pandemic is that the environmental factors affecting type 2 diabetes is very important and have a great impact on patient health. All patients had access to their medication as per usual, but there was a drastic change in lifestyle that has led to these high levels in the city. I hope we all learn from this, and take the right measures in diabetic care,” added Dr Arun.