EXCLUSIVE: How to cope with diabetes and hypertension during the pandemic era by Dr Behram Pardiwala
COVID-19 is a serious public health concern and people with chronic medical issues such as diabetes and hypertension are at a higher risk of getting sick from Coronavirus. Here’s how people with diabetes and hypertension should take care of themselves during the pandemic.
Coronaviruses (CoV) belong to a large family of viruses that may lead to respiratory illnesses, ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). This year, a new strain of coronavirus was discovered, which has not been previously identified in human beings, also known as a novel coronavirus (nCov). COVID-19 causes respiratory disease and in serious cases, it can lead to pneumonia, and hence, the entire country is under lockdown.
COVID can affect those with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or hypertension as they are in the ‘high-risk’ category. If one gets diabetes, not only his/her blood sugar level gets impacted and the insulin production level also gets compromised. People with high or unmanaged blood sugar levels have less than normal blood flow and their body finds it difficult to harness nutrients and heal. People suffering from diabetes are prone to develop infections and may take a longer time to get fit and fine owing to the weakened immune system. Not only this, but uncontrolled blood sugar levels can also invite diabetes-related complications.
Similarly, people with hypertension need to be careful. Hypertension can be described as a condition wherein the long-term force of the blood against one’s artery walls is high enough that it may invite major health problems like heart disease and stroke. The risk factors can be attributed to obesity, family history, too much alcohol intake, and smoking. Since people have been advised to stay at home their blood sugar levels and hypertension may go out of control. Hence, they should take charge of their health and stay healthy.
Foolproof tricks for people with diabetes and high blood pressure
· Hydrate yourself by drinking enough water, and eat fresh fruits and vegetables to improve your immunity. Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet can also be helpful for people who have hypertension. It also involves whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods.
· Monitor your blood sugar levels and temperature from time to time.
· Stay in contact with your doctor, and see to it that you have an adequate stock of medication and other supplies for monitoring your blood sugar level at home. If you notice fluctuations then immediately consult the doctor. Do not forget to stock up your insulin if you are advised to take it.
· Pay close attention to the changes occurring in the body as that could be a sign of infection.
· Try to exercise at home. You can walk, do yoga, or aerobics. Maintain optimum weight. Meditate every day when you feel anxious or tend to panic.
· Say NO to high-calorie foods, carbohydrates, too much salt, junk, oily, spicy, and processed foods.
· Drinking alcohol on a regular basis can be harmful to your health. It can put you at risk of hypertension. So, limit your alcohol consumption and quit smoking too.
About the author: Dr Behram Pardiwala is the internal medicine expert Wockhardt Hospital Mumbai Central