Diabetic Patients are more prone to having serious influenza symptoms.

Influenza has a huge impact on the life course of people with diabetes. Today, we have with us Dr. Altamash Shaikh, Consultant Endocrinologist, Diabetologist and Metabolic Superspecialist, Masina Hospital to tell us the link between the two.

India is known as the capital of diabetes. According to the statistics, the country is home to more than 77 million adults who are living with this severe health condition. Diabetes is usually characterised as a chronic (long-lasting) health condition which hinders the body’s mechanisms of turning food into energy. Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) this gets released in the bloodstream. A sudden increase or a sharp spike in this glucose level in the blood is what is known as ‘diabetes’. There are several symptoms of this chronic health condition, such as frequent urination, extreme fatigue, always hungry for food, dry and rough skin, unexplained weight loss, etc. but, did you know Diabetes can also increase your chances of experiencing severe side effects of other major health complications? Yes, you read that right. In a recent study, experts have stated that a diabetes patient is at much higher risk of influenza diseases than others. Today, we have with us Dr. Altamash Shaikh, Consultant Endocrinologist, Diabetologist and Metabolic Superspecialist, Masina Hospital to tell us about how and why a diabetic patient is known to be at a higher risk of developing severe symptoms of influenza. Read on to find out everything.

Also read: Researcher finds proteins in diabetic patients may be biomarkers of heart disease

Why do people with diabetes have a higher risk of getting Influenza?

Hello Doc! I have been getting recurrent coughs and colds since ever and am concerned about more issues,asI have got to know am suffering from diabetes. This is usual story of a person with diabetes on the background of allergies. Not just this, even without any history of allergies, people with diabetes do have a higher risk of getting the viral flu: influenza flu,the pneumococcal pneumonia, bronchitis, sinusitis and other infectious problems. This is primarily due to the weakened immune system that ,ay occur as a result of high blood glucose, Diabetes. On the other hand , simple flu may also make worsen the diabetes control. Also, any short term or acute illness may cause it difficult to achieve diabetes control. This holds true for all people with diabetes (whether type1, type2, gestational , etc).

Thus,in a nutshell, influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness, and people with diabetes have a 3 to 6 times more chances to get hospitalised apart fromhaving higher risk of getting more sick. Notably, there is a higher risk of death associated with influenza infection inpeople with diabetes. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect differently in all. So, the though in many of diabetes patients that how do we then protect ourselves from this influenza.

The good news is that, we do have some important preventative measures to reduce the severity of recurrent influenza attacks, by administering, the influenza vaccine.

Are Vaccines effective? If yes, does high sugar levels cause hindrance?

Yes! You got it right. Vaccines for influenza are effective. Influenza commonly leads to complications amongst people with diabetes, so vaccination is highly recommended. Flu vaccines reduce disease, disability, severity, and chances of death.

These vaccines are having long-term established safety in people with diabetes. Flu shots or flu vaccines are important as people with diabetes are at high risk of getting flu complications. There are different types of vaccines available for influenza. Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about 2 weeks after vaccination. These flu shots are annual or ofyearlyin diabetes.

In some people flu shot due to pain may temporarily spike glucose levels, and one may require few days of short changes in diabetes medicines. This reponse to pain is similar to other types of pain eg, injury or any injection. No need to worry too much about this, it’s a easy pie. Also, it is advisable to keep blood glucose under control if in case just before the shot your blood glucose levels are high. No hinderance once the diabetes levels are in control, you may take your flu shot.

Also read: No-deductible preventive drugs can reduce out-of-pocket costs for diabetic patients

Care to be taken to keep influenza at bay, especially when you are diabetic?

Mass awareness of symptoms of influenza in adults is vital. Diabetic patients have a higher risk than people without diabetes,to have infectious diseases and to be admitted to hospital, as well as a higher risk of death. Hence, you should know the following symptoms of breathlessness, pressure or chest pain, giddiness, muscle pain, weakness, fever or cough, fever may improve and then worsen, along with worsening of diabetes control. It is of great significance to be vigilant of such warning signs of flu and report to medical system.

Another important thing that is advised to people with diabetes is to change to preventive behaviour in daily life. For example, washing hands, covering coughs, avoiding people who are sick to reduce their chances of acquiring flu from diseased person.

One must follow these too when infected: Continue taking your insulin and diabetes pills as usual. Test your blood glucose and keep track of the results, warm soups, steam inhalation, maintain record of temperature with thermometer, drink plenty of water.

Influenza has a huge impact on the life course of people with diabetes. It is preventable by taking simple housekeeping rules and by getting the yearly flu shots. These small steps of care and discussion between you and your endocrinologist help to keep influenza at bay.

This post first appeared on The Health Site

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