Mumbai | 12th November 2020: The International Diabetes Federation pegs India as the epicentre of diabetes mellitus and the number of people with this condition is expected to be around 134 million by 2045.[1] Given how Diwali coincides with World Diabetes Day this year and in light of the ongoing pandemic, there is a need to raise awareness around prevention and management of the condition.

Both fasting and feasting are not recommended for those living with diabetes. This is because both of these can impact blood sugar levels and in the absence of regular activity or exercise, indulging in sweets and other items can prove harmful to health. One should also not skip medication or insulin dosage as prescribed by the physician.

Speaking about this, Dr Manoj Chawla, Director and Consultant Diabetologist at Lina Diabetes Care & Mumbai Diabetes Research Centre, said, “Festivals are a time when people indulge in sweets and snacks. For those with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, this overindulgence in processed food can be detrimental. Apart from raising their blood sugar levels, it can also reduce their immunity to fight other infections such as the recent COVID-19. There are two primary reasons why a diabetes patient may be more vulnerable to complications due to the viral infection. The immune system in people with diabetes (Type 1 and 2 both) is weakened due to abnormal blood glucose fluctuations. The enhanced blood glucose levels could be conducive for the viral growth in the body. Thus, when people living with diabetes get infected, it becomes more difficult to treat them and the treatment period also becomes prolonged.

Dr Manoj Chawla

Adding further, Dr Chawla, said, “Self-monitoring of blood glucose levels regularly is a must during this period. This will alert you of any fluctuations and enable you to take timely action in case of any issues. Ensure that you eat in small portions and do not skip meals and choose food items that are grilled or roasted. Keep some healthy snacks handy for those hunger pangs and avoid excessive alcohol consumption .”

Some tips for people with diabetes.

  • Have smaller meals since that will help in keeping blood sugar levels stable and keep you nourished. Make sure you are adequately hydrated.
  • Avoid snacking with unhealthy food or eat healthy alternatives such as nuts etc. Avoid white rice and white bread since they have a high glycaemic index.
  • Make sure you take short walks or get at least 15 to 30 minutes of physical activity in some form. For instance, take the stairs instead of the lift.
  • Keep your blood sugar levels under check with regular monitoring. Do not change your medicines or their schedule without consulting the doctor about the same.