A 9-year-old diabetic has his sugar reading taken at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in this 2018 image. File photo: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)
A 9-year-old diabetic has his sugar reading taken at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in this 2018 image. File photo: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)

'Harder for diabetics to manage condition if they've developed an infection'

By Jehran Daniel Time of article published Jun 2, 2020

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Durban – People with diabetes are more prone to infection during the Covid-19 outbreak if their blood glucose levels are not well controlled, Diabetes South Africa says.

In a statement, it said diabetics often found it hard to manage their condition if they have developed an infection.

“While we are still gathering data in learning more about the risks Covid-19 poses to people living with diabetes, initial findings globally indicate that progression to severe illness is more likely in people with diabetes," Diabetes SA manager Margot Mc Cumisky said.

"For many people with diabetes, taking extra precaution will best improve their outcomes. People living with diabetes who manage their blood glucose levels well, recover much quicker from an infection and are less likely to develop complications."

Data from the International Diabetes Federation shows that an estimated 7 percent of South Africans between the ages of 21 and 79 years have the ailment. 

While genetics plays a significant role in contracting the disease, it is often caused by a progressively unhealthy diet and bad eating habits.

In a 2008-2025 study, local researchers from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of the Witwatersrand as well as international researchers from Denmark and England analysed the body mass index of South African children‚ adolescents and young adults and found that the number of those suffering from obesity doubled in six years, while this took 13 years to happen in the United States.

Obesity has tripled since 1975, according to the World Health Organisation, and most of the world's population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.

"Overweight and obesity are leading risks for global deaths," the WHO said.

"Around 3.4 million adults die each year as a result of being overweight or obese. In addition, 44 percent of the diabetes burden, 23 percent of the ischaemic heart disease burden and between 7 percent and 41 percent of certain cancer burdens are attributable to overweight and obesity."

African News Agency (ANA)

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