New Delhi [India], November 6 (ANI): As Diwali falls on World Diabetes Day on November 14 this year, after a gap of 20 years, health experts have come together to celebrate "Blue Diwali" to spread awareness about the disease, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the data of the Union Health Ministry, about 73 per cent of the COVID-19 deaths are linked with comorbidities, including diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Experts have pointed out that diabetes has been observed as the most common comorbidity in COVID-19 patients.
"Every six seconds, we are losing people with diabetes on the planet. And diabetes is a big disruption in the COVID-19 because sugar is a cultural medium to grow any virus," senior endocrinologist Dr Shashank R Joshi said while addressing participants of India COVIDiabetes e-summit, organised by Heal Foundation.
Joshi pointed out that we are in "Diabetes Awareness Month". "It is important to recognise that sugar kills. Sugar is a form of tobacco and it is the need of the hour to beware people on the side effects of sugar."
As far as COVID-induced diabetes is concerned, he said so many patients, who neither had diabetes nor any family history before they were contracted with the virus, became diabetic after three to four months of contracting the coronavirus. "Yes, there is COVID-induced diabetes as a distinct entity," added Dr Joshi.
Elaborating on COVID's role in aggravating diabetes, Dr A K Jhingan, Chairman of Delhi Diabetes Research Centre, said, "The normal morbidity in COVID is 2.3 per cent, while in diabetics, it is 7.3 per cent -- three times more. I have seen during the COVID scourge that elderly people, as well as 60 per cent of males with diabetes, are the most vulnerable lots. As far as the sugar intake is concerned, the American Heart Association recommends for men to take 36 gm and to women 24-25 gm added sugar daily."
Echoing similar views, Dr Shilpa Joshi, Vice-President at Indian Dietetic Association noted that the Indian diet has a high content of carbohydrate and hence it needs to be reduced.
"Usually, people take 60-65 per cent carbohydrates in their diet, while it shouldn't be more than 50 per cent," she said adding that one should increase the intake of fruits and vegetables and decrease the carbohydrate contents from the diet.
Dr Navin Verma, Assistant Director of Centre for Non-communicable Diseases, National Centre for Disease Control, said as lifestyle activities are the sheet anchor of all non-communicable diseases like diabetes, "we need to correct our lifestyle to stay healthy".
"Also, malnutrition may be a component, which needs to be addressed but not by promoting sugar in general. And definitely, if the Health Ministry or other ministries have different opinions regarding this, they should sort it out."
He added that the government has already issued guidelines in August to screen every diabetic patient. (ANI)