- The author of this article is Dr. Subrata Das, Senior Consultant – Internal Medicine & Diabetology, Sakra World Hospital
The pandemic induced lockdown has perhaps made us witness the biggest change in our lifetime, be it the change in our outlook towards life or our lifestyle, our state of mind, our way of adapting to the new normal of staying indoors and still going on. While some changes have been positive and healthy, staying indoors and locked up have also taken a toll on health apart from the raging Covid-19 burden. How? The lockdown has seen a considerable increase in blood sugar levels among those who are already diabetic.
Not just that, interestingly, lockdown has also triggered prediabetes, a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes, among many. This occurs due to impaired glucose tolerance and may eventually result in type 2 diabetes. Observing World Diabetes Day this month amid the pandemic,
Why has lockdown amped up the blood sugar level?
Our physical activities have gone for a toss: Lockdown has made us mostly inactive. Going out for a walk or jogging has become restricted, gyms and fitness centres have remained shut, movement has become minimal. Working from home has made our schedule erratic, completely disrupting our metabolic system and pulling up the blood sugar count.
We are not eating right: Most of us have tried to do away with lockdown boredom by becoming chefs and home bakers, preparing and consuming yum dishes. A significant rise in consumption of sweets, oily and greasy foods have been observed over the last few months of lockdown. Unhealthy eating habits have unfortunately become our lockdown companion and have blown up the blood sugar count.
Lockdown has messed up with our body weight: Throughout the lockdown we have been taking in a lot of calories and bad fat and not burning them out due to restricted physical activities. Pandemic-induced lockdown has witnessed considerable increase in obesity which happens to be one of the primary risk factors of diabetes.
Lockdown has aggravated stress: Stress and anxiety are two of the predominant risk factors which have affected us in plenty during the lockdown. Be it excessive pressure in managing work from home and household chores, complete cut off in socialisation, almost zero relaxation, constant fear of the pandemic, career and job restrictions, rising stress has caused an increase in the blood sugar levels.
Signs to watch out during the lockdown
For detecting, treating and preventing diabetes right, it is important to keep an eye on the signs of prediabetes and be cautious about the early symptoms of diabetes.
The most common symptoms of prediabetes include unusual blood sugar reading when tested at home, signs of insulin resistance like darkened areas of skin, more hunger than usual, trouble concentrating, fatigue and certain heart conditions.
Urinating frequently, an extreme feeling of thirst and hunger, severe fatigue, blurry vision, cuts and bruises that are slow to heal, weight loss despite eating more, tingling, pain and numbness in the hands or feet are some of the early signs of diabetes that you must keep an eye on.
Tips on managing diabetes during lockdown
· Be careful with your diet. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, grains, pulses, antioxidant and inflammation-fighting foods daily. Make sure you have a proper eating schedule.
· Remain active and get involved in some kind of physical activity. Regular exercise is extremely useful in cutting off the spike in blood sugar level.
· Have fruits which are sources of natural sugar. Avoid sugar and switch off to healthier alternatives like honey and jaggery.
· Sleep well, for 7 to 8 hours as it is as important as exercise for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
· Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.
· Monitor your blood sugar levels on a regular basis and do not skip your medications.