COVID-19 survivors are at the escalated chances of being diagnosed with diabetes up to one year after clearly recovering from the virus. Recently, Dr. R. Muralidharan, a renowned endocrinologist and Director Endocrinologist at Fortis Hospital in Mohali, Punjab, expressed that 40% of the survivors of the COVID-19 virus are at high risk of getting diagnosed with diabetes in the first year after their recovery from it.
Dr. R. Muralidharan stated that, “Though genetic factors play a major role, the rapid rise in incidence in the last few decades can be attributed to several environmental factors. Urbanization and the consequent lifestyle changes are the key reasons. Though living standards have improved, the downsides are sedentary habits, lack of physical activity due to time and space constraints, erratic working hours, change in food habits from traditional diet to more consumption of refined sugars and fats and easy availability of fast foods. Stress and environmental pollution are the other major contributors.”
India is suffering potential epidemic as there are around 110 million adults who are currently diabetic said by the recent ICMR Report. Recently, it has also become known that diabetes is one of the major causes of blindness, heart attacks, strokes, kidney failures, organ failures, and limb amputations, especially in children and adolescents. According to the International Diabetes Federation 2021 data, India ranks second to China when it comes to the number of patients and risk, with about 74.2 million people. According to these reports, it is also said that the number of diabetic patients is only going to increase globally from 537 million in 2021 to 783 million in 2045, with a maximum increase in China followed by India.
On Saturday’s interview to IANS Dr. R. Muralidharan said, “Even in the absence of an increase in body weight to qualify as obesity, increase in fat deposition in the abdomen and waist confers a major risk of diabetes. Obesity among children and adolescents is on the rise in our country. The latest National Family Health Survey conducted in 2019-21 found that 3.4 per cent of children under five are now overweight compared with 2.1 per cent in 2015-16.”
She added, “We are seeing a rising trend of Type 2 diabetes in the second decade of life. Earlier we used to think any diabetes at this young age is Type 1 (insulin dependent) but as per the registry of youth-onset diabetes in India over 25 per cent of youth-onset diabetes (less than 25 years age) were Type 2 diabetes mellitus. The number is likely to increase.” This report was given out by India Times.
Reportedly according to the UNICEF’s World Obesity Atlas Report for 2022, India is said to have more than 27 million obese children, representing one in 10 children globally, by coming 2030. The solutions to fight the increasing diabetes are the indulgent of a healthy lifestyle from early childhood, insistence, and involvement of regular physical activity in school, making urban environments conducive to outdoor physical activity and education on healthy food choices.
When Impact of COVID-19 on diagnosed diabetes was questioned Dr. R. Muralidharan reported that, “It may be because of unmasking of a previously undiagnosed condition, the acceleration of pre-diabetes, or new-onset diabetes that would not have otherwise occurred. Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes have been reported, the former occurring because of autoimmune damage to the insulin producing beta cells of the pancreas incited by the Covid virus.
The course is variable — in some diabetes resolves completely or improves gradually on follow up. Though the severity of the illness is the factor that determines the risk, some asymptomatic cases of Covid-19 have been associated with new-onset diabetes. Those who survive Covid-19 remain at a 40 per cent elevated risk for diabetes in the first year. A subsequent post-pandemic wave of new diabetes patients may be expected.”
Lastly, he stated that this risk and infection can also keep on increasing due to prolonged sedentary habits like work from home and closure of schools enforced amidst the pandemic.