Top doctors across public and private hospitals in Mumbai are reporting cases of non-diabetic
A team of doctors at KEM has now begun studying the phenomenon, hoping to find answers to what causes the “sugar spike” and whether it could, apart from immediate risk to a patient, have longterm implications.
Even before Covid entered our lives, India had been bearing the brunt of diabetes. India has an estimated 77 million people with diabetes, making the country second-most affected in the world, after China. Experts say one in six people (17%) in the world with
KEM Dean Dr Hemant Deshmukh told Mumbai Mirror on Friday that while the mortality rate of Covid-19 patients who are aged above 60 and have existing co-morbidities has improved, hospitals are now seeing a lot of younger Covid-19 patients – aged 25 to 55 – arriving with extremely high blood sugar levels.
Just last week, a 43-year-old man, who has tested positive for Covid-19, was admitted to Mulund’s Fortis Hospital with highgrade fever and body-ache. Though the patient had no history of diabetes, his blood sugar level at the time of admission was 480 mg/dL. A blood sugar level of under 140 mg/dL is considered normal.
On the first day in the ward, he was administered intermittent subcutaneous insulin, but his sugar level remained dangerously high. He was moved to the ICU the next day and doctors started insulin infusion to control his blood glucose and began giving him long-acting insulin in the night. The patient’s Covid-19 symptoms settled down over the next three-four days and parallely his insulin requirement also dropped. He was eventually moved to the ward with much lower insulin dependence and discharged in two weeks.
Dr Rahul Pandit, Director-Intensive Care, Fortis Hospital, who is also a member of state government-appointed
Senior endocrinologist and diabetologist Dr Shashank Joshi, who is also a member of the Task Force, said doctors in India and abroad are studying the link between Covid-19 and hyperglycemia. In Mumbai too, an extensive study is underway, including follow up with recovered patients to check if they develop diabetes later.
What doctors know so far is this:
♦ Stress management mechanism of human body when triggered can lead to blood glucose levels shooting up and fever or a virulent infection can act as a trigger.
♦ Covid-19 virus displays an affinity for the
Dr Jeenam Shah, a pulmonologist attached to
Dr Vimal Pahuja, metabolic physician at L H Hiranandani Hospital, Powai, said doctors have now begun making the reverse diagnosis. “If we see a patient with his sugar levels but no history of diabetes, we suspect it to be a Covid-19 case,” he said.
Dr Pahuja said he saw a 35-yearold patient last month who, when admitted, had sugar levels touching 330 mg/dL. He also had cough a fever. The patient eventually tested positive for Covid-19 and despite being put on treatment, his blood sugar levels touched 500 mg/dL. His sugar levels dropped after he was given 150 to 200 units of insulin every day for ten days.
If the trend of Covid resulting in blood sugar spike in non-diabetic patients continue, Mumbai’s healthcare experts will have a new challenge on their hands, something the city can do without.