Covid: FAQs for patients with hypertension, diabetes

Covid-19: ICMR issues FAQs for patients with hypertension, diabetes and heart diseases

The press release answers questions while busting myths related to these diseases

While people with diabetes are not at higher risk for acquiring the infection, some individuals could be prone to more severe disease. Credit: AFP Photo

As India deals with the second wave of Covid-19, cases are on a steady rise. On Wednesday, India saw the biggest spike and reported over 3,60,000 cases with more than 3,000 deaths. The death toll in the country has surpassed two lakh. 

Patients with co-morbidities have to take extra precautions during this pandemic. To this effect, the Indian Council for Medical Research issued a note with FAQs related to patients with hypertension, diabetes and heart diseases. This answers questions and busts myths related to these diseases.

"People with hypertension, diabetes or heart diseases are at no greater risk of getting the infection than anyone else," ICMR clarified while adding that some of the people with diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases, including heart failure, may develop more severe symptoms and complications and need extra care.

Follow DH's special coverage on Covid-19, here

ICMR said that while people with diabetes are not at higher risk for acquiring the infection, some individuals could be prone to more severe disease and poorer outcomes once infected. They are advised to follow a healthy diet and exercise routines alongside regular testing of sugar levels. "When diabetic patients become sick, they may require frequent monitoring of blood glucose and adjustment of drugs including insulin, small frequent meals and adequate fluids."

For those with hypertension and high blood pressure, it has been advised to control all risk factor levels by avoiding smoking and drinking. ICMR said that some form of regular physical activity (modified according to social distancing norms) should be followed.

Hailing paracetamol as one of the safest medicines to take, ICMR also busted myths on medicines and advised what medications to continue, and which ones to avoid.

The statement clarifies that blood pressure medicines do not exacerbate the symptoms of Covid-19 and that stopping them could be more harmful. 

"After review of available information, there is no evidence that the two group of drugs- ACE inhibitors (eg. Ramipril, Enalapril, etc) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) (eg. Losartan, Telmisartan, etc.) increase the susceptibility or severity of Covid-19. These drugs are very effective for heart failure by supporting your heart function and controlling high blood pressure. It may be harmful to stop these medications by yourself. This can worsen your heart condition."

ICMR said that all prescribed medications should be taken regularly despite showing symptoms and should only be stopped on the advice of doctors. "Continue with your blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease medications in case you are unable to visit your doctor. Medications to control cholesterol (statins) should be continued."

For fever, the release stated that NSAID pain killers like Ibuprofen were found to worsen Covid-19 symptoms and were harmful to patients at risk of heart failure. These drugs can increase the risk of kidney damage and should only be taken if prescribed.

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