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Sugar levels of diabetics rose by 20% during COVID-19 lockdown: Report

Disruption to lives and livelihoods have increased stress and anxiety, leading to a concomitant rise in blood sugar levels among diabetics.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
June 27, 2020 1:10:50 pm
stress, anxiety, diabetes, suhar levels, blod sugar rise lockdown, beato analysis, indianexpress, Here’s how lockdown stress contributed to a rise in blood sugar levels. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Worldwide, numerous studies show how stress increases the chances of developing various ailments, particularly chronic ones. Similarly, stressed persons suffering from diabetes run a greater risk of poor blood glucose levels. A major reason for the higher sugar levels is because of stress hormones such as cortisol. As the COVID-19 outbreak began spreading across the nation in March this year, blood glucose levels of diabetics began rising simultaneously, suggested a new report.

Pan-India, it was clear that anxiety about COVID-19 and the stress arising from lockdown restrictions as well as the lack of prompt medical attention had caused an overall increase of 20 per cent in blood sugar levels. The results were derived from 8,200 diabetic patients across India, as per the analysis conducted by Beato – a full-stack digital ecosystem for diabetes care and management.

While the average pre-pandemic fasting sugar levels in January till mid-February was 138 mg/dl, in March 2020, the blood glucose level of diabetics began rising. Average fasting sugar levels in March till mid-April was 165 mg/dl. As per Beato, key factors for the rise were stress, anxiety, overall disruption of lives, restrictive regimens and confinement at home.

Among those showing a greater spike in blood sugar levels were regions in the North, West and North-east India with major states like Rajasthan, Ladakh, Andhra Pradesh and Uttarakhand being affected. The analysis linked the rise to how these states were typically rice and carbohydrate-consuming states. Overall, the highest rise in blood glucose levels was seen in Daman and Diu (49 per cent), Tripura (38 per cent), Nagaland (30 per cent), Manipur (28 per cent), Uttarakhand (25 per cent), Jannu and Kashmir (23 per cent), Ladakh (23 per cent), Jharkhand (22 per cent), Rajasthan (21 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (20 per cent) and Bihar (20 per cent).

The report underlined that since stress and anxiety were “active triggers in raising blood sugar levels”, daily diabetes management is imperative in tracking and managing the chronic disorder. This is particularly important due to the threat of grave consequences if the ailment is not managed proactively.

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