With rains pouring in, a spurt of virus causing Dengue and Chikungunya has started to spread all around. The virus poses a major threat to the life of many people. The concern increases even more for those who fall under the most vulnerable group like children, elderly and people with chronic conditions like ?diabetes mellitus?.
Talking about diabetics particularly, why and how this virus can be a menace is explained here by our expert Dr Raghav, MBBS, DNB (General Medicine);
The virus is more likely to cause serious complications in diabetics primarily because of their weak immunity.?They have a drastically suppressed immune system, says Dr Raghav. The main reason for reduced immunity can be attributed to; the hyperglycemic environment (high blood sugar in diabetics) increasing the virulence of some pathogens;?lower production of interleukins (glycoproteins produced by leucocytes for regulating immune responses) to control infection; glycosuria (excess of sugar in the urine); gastrointestinal and urinary dysmotility (muscles of the digestive system become impaired and changes in the speed, strength or coordination in the digestive organs occurs).
Increased possibility of complications
Due to compromised immunity, diabetics with poorly managed diabetes are more prone to complications from this virus. Generally, dengue appears as fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, joint and muscle pain. But if due care in not taken in diabetics, it may move to its severe stage of hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome. Infact, uncontrolled diabetes increases the chances of complications and can even lead to multi-organ failure in extreme conditions.
Diabetics become more prone to respiratory infections. Hence, it is recommended that the elderly diabetics take flu vaccination, says Dr Raghav. In addition to being potentially more serious, such infectious diseases in diabetic patients may result in metabolic complications such as hypoglycemia, ketoacidosis, and coma.
Moreover, people with existing complications need to be more alert and stay safe because if there is bleeding due to low platelet count, it becomes difficult to stop that bleeding which can again be life threatening.
Similarly, with Chikungunya, though, it is rarely fatal, but it can lead to complications in diabetics.
3. Dengue and Chikungunya are difficult To Treat In Diabetics
For a diabetic patient, this condition may lead to a very critical situation as the drugs used for diabetes management may cause an adverse reaction. In patients with dengue, bleeding due to a low platelet count may increase with certain medications, causing further complications. Hence, for diabetics with dengue, ‘insulin therapy’ may be suggested instead of oral medications.
4. Interferes with blood sugar control
Dengue fever increases the body temperature and metabolic rate that causes blood sugar levels to fluctuate. This can prove fatal for the patient if the blood sugar levels are not controlled in time.
Considering the severity of risks involved amongst diabetics on acquiring dengue or chikungunya, it is advisable to follow the preventive measures. The best measure is to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes in and around your surroundings. Use mosquito repellents and a mosquito net while sleeping. Wearing long sleeves shirts and pants while outside can also prevent mosquito bites. Also, make sure to have closed window and door screens with no open areas in it. Air-Conditioners are preferable than water coolers.
Incase a diabetic is unfortunate to acquire the infection, it become impertinent to note that:
- Cough is a common symptom in viral infections, but diabetics should avoid sugary cough syrups.
- Staying hydrated is most important for dengue and chikungunya. More so in diabetics, to prevent DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis).
- Stress (due to dengue and chikungunya) may cause hyperglycemia. Hence, a non diabetics shouldn’t be mis-diagnosed as diabetic. We recommend an HbA1c test in such patients.
Stay safe and take every measure to protect yourself from this virus!