Hyderabad: Not just treating Covid-19 patients, but tackling the side effects in the aftermath too has become a major concern for the doctors, it seems. After recovery, Covid-19 patients are showing increased sugar levels due to use of steroids, psychological stress, sedentary lifestyle and compromised cell immunity. Black fungus, increased levels of cholesterol, heart problems and urinary tract infections are expected as the sugar levels rise.
Doctors have been taken off guard as they never expected these side-effects in patients. In the first wave, there were side-effects noted in terms of scarring of lungs and heart due to prolonged treatment and higher viral load.
But in the second wave, they find that the side-effects are similar to that of a patient suffering from uncontrolled diabetes. Post-Covid-19 side effects have unmasked the underlying diabetes and pre-diabetes disease existing in people.
Sugar levels are not checked in 80 percent of the cases as the treatment is at home. It is not clear whether before and after the medication of steroids, there are fluctuating sugar levels. It is also not clear if the time gap between the steroids is properly followed by patients.
Dr Ch. Vasant Kumar, senior general physician at Apollo Hospitals, explains, "Due to the infectious nature of Covid-19, maximum treatment is at home and only those with identified diabetic disorder are checking random blood sugar at home. In majority of the cases, there have not been random levels taken as they are not thought to be vulnerable for pre-diabetes or diabetes. We are now seeing high incidences as those with a pre-existing condition but not diagnosed, borderline cases and uncontrolled diabetes but never diagnosed are suffering from severe side-effects. This is bringing the diabetics pandemic to the fore."
Increased sugar levels are also due to psychological stress as living in isolation, staying in one room, concerns over income and social changes are affecting many patients. Stress hormones in the body rise and insulin levels fall down hampering functioning of the body. For this reason, there is tiredness, headaches, muscle pain and also lack of sleep, explained Dr S Sangeetha, senior endocrinologist. It also leads to mood swings, demotivation and anger affecting mental health. These have an overall impact on the body making recovery a slow process.
Dr Shyam Kalavalapalli, senior endocrinologist of Idea Clinics says, "In the second wave, we have observed that people who suffered from the infection also suffered from abdominal obesity, sedentary lifestyle and weight gain. There has been a change in lifestyle and most of them have been at home. They have not opted for testing and were neither advised as there was fear of contracting the virus. Neither are the people seeing their doctors face-to-face and it is mostly a video call that decides on the treatment. These factors account for this surge in side-effects."
Experts state that in India for one diagnosed case of diabetes, there is one undiagnosed or missed case. The prevalence of diabetes in India is 7.5 percent of the population according to Indian Council of Medical Research. In urban areas, the incidence is 15 per cent and in rural areas it varies from 4.5 per cent to 10 per cent.
Experts say that due to the unidentified and undiagnosed nature of the disease those who have recovered from Covid 19 must check their blood sugar levels for a month. They can opt for random checking of blood sugar. Apart from that, they must opt for meditation, light exercise at home, check on their weight in terms of food intake, eat healthy foods and carry out breathing exercises so that their cell immunity improves. It is also very important for them to beat their psychological stress and ensure fitness of mental health.