By Apollo 24/7- 03 June 2020
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the recently discovered Coronavirus. Early studies on COVID-19 have revealed that 80% of infections are either mild or asymptomatic. About 15% are severe which may require hospital admission and the remaining 5% are critical requiring mechanical ventilation. Coronavirus is likely to cause either severe or critical illness in the high-risk groups which include the elderly, people with existing diseases like diabetes, and those with depressed immunity.
A research was done on 5,700 patients in New York to study the common comorbidities and their outcomes in COVID-19 patients. Comorbidity is the existence of more than one disorder in a person. In patients with comorbidities, diabetes was the third most common ailment with nearly 34% of COVID-19 patients also having diabetes. Of the patients who were discharged after treatment, both diabetic, as well as non-diabetic patients, needed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admission/mechanical ventilation in almost similar percentages.
A similar study was done to analyze the correlation between COVID-19 deaths and existing comorbidities in China. Out of 168 patients included in the study, diabetes was the second most common medical condition seen in 25% COVID-19 patients Though the data on COVID-19 is evolving with each passing day, early studies have revealed that the patients with diabetes may have a higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness.
Once a person is infected with Coronavirus, the body’s immune system gets activated to fight the disease. Since diabetic patients are known to have lesser immunity against diseases, their bodies may not be able to fight against Coronavirus effectively.
The reasons for lesser immunity in diabetes patients are as follows:
As diabetic patients may have depressed immunity to fight against Coronavirus, they should improve their immunity and reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 illness.
Our body’s immune system cannot function properly without the basic building blocks like vitamins, minerals, etc. Eating a well-balanced diet strengthens our immune system. Hence, we should eat fresh and unprocessed food every day to get the vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, protein, and antioxidants needed for our body.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended some nutritional tips that can help in fighting COVID-19. We’ve listed them for you below:
This is a general diet plan advised to all people. However, it may vary for different individuals based on their blood sugar control and other comorbidities.
Based on the studies from the National Institute of Health (NIH), many food items can control blood sugars thereby improving immunity in diabetes patients. Some of them are as follows:
Taking into consideration the data on the individual success of these food products, many researchers studied the effect when they are combined into composite supplements. Most of the studies have shown positive results by reducing blood sugar levels. Hence, it is advisable to take supplements under the doctor’s supervision.
In response to infection, white blood cells are (WBCs) released by our body which, in turn, release toxic oxygen compounds. While these compounds kill the viruses they also damage healthy cells and wear out the immune system. To avoid this situation, our body relies on antioxidants which help to keep toxic oxygen compounds in control. Hence, it is important to add foods that have antioxidant properties in our diet.
The most common antioxidants are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and carotenoids. Many fruits and vegetables are rich sources of antioxidants. ORAC is the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, a value determined in a laboratory to compare the antioxidant content of different foods. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends an ORAC unit ingestion of 3000 to 5000 units daily. Cinnamon and spices have the highest ORAC values.
ORAC values of few foods in µmol TE/ 100g have been given below:
Since there is no definitive treatment for COVID-19 yet, diabetic people may improve their fighting chance against Coronavirus by boosting their immunity. Certain foods like Jamun, green tea, garlic, and amla can control blood sugars and additionally have an antioxidant effect. Hence, it is advisable to include them in a regular diet. People with diabetes may consult their doctor to include additional supplements along with a healthy diet. This may help improve the immunity depressed by a long-standing disease like diabetes.
You may try the immunity booster kit from Apollo Pharmacy.
Consult best diabetologists online for dietary advice.
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Avoid going to the office if you feel unwell and seek medical attention immediately. If you are healthy and must go to office, follow precautions to protect yourself at the workplace.
More than 150 COVID-19 vaccine candidates worldwide are in development. So far, 156 economies have signed up for COVAX, a WHO initiative, to deliver 2 billion doses by the end of 2021.
Social distancing or physical distancing is when you keep space between yourself and other people outside of your home. It is the best way to curb the spread of the Coronavirus.
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