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Underlying co-morbidities create complications during Covid infection: Expert

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Advises people to take protein, vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidant-rich food, and to exercise more

Srinagar, May 24: Persons having comorbidities including obesity, hypertension, diabetes can increase their survival chances if they take precautions adhere to Covid-related guidelines strictly, says Dr Shariq Masoodi, an endocrinologist at SKIMS, Soura.

Dr Masoodi said that Covid infection is now common among people and majority of the patients recover immediately in home isolation. However, he said that less than two percent of the Covid patients develop serious complications owing to underlying comorbidities like age, obesity, blood sugar, hypertension, cancer or any other disease and some of them may succumb to the infection. Such patients may need critical care including oxygen supply, ventilation and hospitalization.

He maintained that older a person is more are the chances of getting complicated condition during Covid infection.

He also said that vaccination is very important for the people living with any comorbidity and further added that vaccine rarely causes adverse effects.

“Individuals already suffering from any disease should get vaccinated because it will protect them from further complications in case of them getting a Covid infection,” he stated.

Dr Masoodi said that most of the patients recover at home but it is imperative to monitor pulse rate and oxygen saturation levels of Covid patients with underlying comorbidity.

“If a person has tendency of diabetes and has obesity, then monitor her/his sugar level too,” he said while advising about the supervision of such patients at home.

He said that steroids including dexamethasone, hydrocortisone and prednisolone are used to treat severe Covid patients admitted in the hospitals. While cautioning about self-medication, he said, “Steroid is not treatment for everyone because it increases sugar in the body.”

These medicines are used only for those patients whose oxygen saturation has decreased and have been admitted in the hospital, he clarified.

Only physicians shall prescribe steroids when the need arises, he added.

Reiterating that asymptomatic or mildly infected persons don’t need  steroids because it will affect their health adversely by increasing body sugar which may ultimately pose threat of other  health issues such as black fungus or mocurmycosis, the doctor said.

He also said the cytotoxic immunity and acquired immunity of body helps to fight against fungal infections but prolonged use of steroids decrease these immunities in a person. “Increase in sugar level reduces oxygen saturation in the body which increases acidosis — formation of acids in à body,” he explained.

Regarding the measures to control sugar levels, he said there are two types of measures including pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical. “Non pharmaceutical methods involve change in diet and life style,” he said.

He said that during the lockdown physical activity has decreased, so energy required is minimum and advised the people to take proteins, vitamin, minerals, fibre and antioxidant-rich foods and reduce intake of carbohydrates. He suggested people must limit the intake of carbohydrates to 175 gm in 24 hours, and exercise frequently.

While providing additional information regarding carbohydrates, he said, there are two types of carbohydrates including complex and refined. The complex carbohydrates are absorbed slowly while refined carbohydrates are absorbed quickly. He stressed to reduce intake of refined carbohydrates such as rice, wheat, bread, etc., to keep sugar in control.

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