What makes diabetes a high-risk comorbid condition for COVID-19 and how is the severity of the infection among diabetics?
• When compared to others, immunity is low for diabetics, who easily catch any kind of infection. Diabetes acts like a catalyst for coronavirus infection and worsens the health condition of COVID patients. Not only uncontrolled diabetes, but hypertension, heart diseases, kidney problems or other health conditions can also add to the severity of the viral infection. Such patients might require hospitalisation and even intensive care treatment.
What are parameters that a diabetic person should check after recovering from COVID?
• It is very important to monitor blood sugar levels regularly and keep diabetes in control. Glucometer and glucose monitoring patches can be used to check sugar levels. It is also necessary to keep a check on kidney and liver profiles, cardiac and eye checkups to ensure that other organs are functioning properly. Also, pulse in the feet should be monitored as part of a regular routine. It is necessary to have a balanced diet and drink enough such so that diabetes is under control.
Even non-diabetics are found to have raised blood sugar levels after COVID. Why is it so and how can it be prevented?
• Yes, many COVID patients have recorded rise in their blood sugar level. According to available evidence, it is because coronavirus affects the pancreas and damages the beta cells, causing diabetes. Such patients should monitor and control their blood sugar levels. Stress and fear of infection would only add to high sugar level.
Is it safe for diabetics to take COVID vaccine if their blood sugar levels are not under control?
• Individuals with uncontrolled blood sugar levels face a higher risk of catching the infection. So it is advisable to take the vaccine to ensure that the risk is reduced and recovery is faster. Only those who test positive should not take the vaccine immediately.
Your autobiography "Making Excellence a Habit" talks about how research and Diabetes care changed in the country over the years, but what are the challenges associated with it?
• It is not easy to do research, see patients, take care of the administration, and publish research papers at the same time, but people prompted me to write a book, which can be a source of inspiration to the youngsters. It is necessary to have a good team backing up the work one does, then when you need to delegate them and train them in the work. We have come quite far in Diabetes care and treatment as now we publish research papers, educational programmes, train the staff and also take care of the patients.