COVID effect? Onset of diabetes, BP in 35-40 per cent of patients in Karnataka

Data for Karnataka shows 59,632 new cases diagnosed from April to Sept; Stress, use of steroids also blamed

Published: 12th November 2021 06:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th November 2021 11:06 AM   |  A+A-


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Express News Service

BENGALURU: Data from the National Programming on Control of Diabetes shows 59,632 new diabetic and hypertension patients in Karnataka in just six months -- April to September 2021.

Doctors say that 35%  to 40% of the newly diagnosed patients had contracted Covid-19 and were treated for it.

“The reason for this is two-fold: Covid itself increases the risk of diabetes and hypertension because of changes in the body mechanism, and patients who had moderate to serious Covid infection are put on steroids. Steroids unmask diabetes and increase blood sugar levels which increase the risk of developing Type-2 diabetes,” said Dr Manjunath Malige, chief endocrinologist and diabetologist, Aster RV Hospital.

The increase in new diabetic and hypertension patients is worrying as it adds to the existing burden of 4.24 lakh cases of diabetes and hypertension in Karnataka.

“These diseases are no longer limited to urban areas, and rural populations, especially those who have migrated from villages to tier-2 cities, are being diagnosed with these diseases. While Covid has certainly played a role, it is not just PHCs that are reporting high numbers but even private hospitals,” explained Dr Subbarao V, endocrinologist.

Doctors from private hospitals say they have seen 30% to 40% of Covid patients being diagnosed with diabetes and hypertension.  Dr Vaishali Sharma, senior consultant, Department of Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital, says, “SARS-CoV-2 infection in an individual leads to the body undergoing stress. This physiological chronic stress along with altered immune status and activation of the renin angiotensin aldosterone system has led to new diabetes and hypertension cases post Covid.”

There is a bidirectional relationship between Covid and diabetes, says Dr Mahesh D M, consultant, Endocrinology, Aster CMI Hospital.

While diabetes is associated with an increased risk of complicating Covid, new onset diabetes and metabolic complications of pre-existing diabetes are seen in patients with Covid-19. 

Doctors say that Covid-induced diabetes can be reversed in the early stages, when blood sugar levels are not too high, and if lifestyle modifications such as diet control and regular exercise are introduced.  


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