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North Shahjahanpur dwellers Nurul Haque Patwari, 93, and his wife Rokeya Begum, 75, got COVID-19 vaccines at Mugda Medical College and Hospital on 8 February.

The senior citizens are diabetic patients. So far, they are not having any side effects from the COVID-19 shots .

Experts observe that there is little risk of COVID-19 vaccine on the diabetic patients. Patients with all types of diabetes can get the shots. However, every diabetic patient needs to keep blood sugar level under control before vaccination. Vaccinated diabetic patient may have side effects or not.

There is no accurate data on death of coronaviurs-infected diabetic patient in the country. Physicians at BIRDEM General Hospital said that diabetic patients are more prone to COVID-19 virus infection and multiple health problems, because, diabetic patients have less immunity to combat death risks.

Bangladesh is observing Diabetes Awareness Day today. In 1956, national professor Mohammad Ibrahim and like-minded social activists established Diabetic Association of Bangladesh. Every year, the association observes the day with elaborate programmes. This year, the association is observing the day with the theme–“Prevention from Covid and diabetes can save life’.

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BIRDEM General Hospital authorities said that before the coronavirus pandemic, around 3,000 diabetic patients would receive outdoor treatment a day. The number of outdoor patients, however, has dropped now.

BIRDEM physicians found that they found coronavirus-infected diabetic patients with high blood sugar. The health condition of the virus-infected patient with high blood sugar deteriorates fast, the physicians added.

BIRDEM endocrinology professor Faruque Pathan recently told Prothom Alo that COVID-19 vaccination is crucial for the diabetic patients and they must get priority.

Faruque said that diabetic patients may face minimal complicacies after getting the shots.

Around 460 million people in the world are suffering from diabetes. According to International Diabetes Federation, there are around 8.4 million diabetic patients in Bangladesh and the number would rise to 15 million by 2045.

Diabetic Association of Bangladesh runs 114 associations, hospitals and health centres across Bangladesh. The association has registered around 4.5 million diabetic patients so far. The number of diabetic patients is higher than the figure as many people are still unaware about their ailment.

Physicians said that coronavirus attacks human body’s beta cells that produce insulin. That’s why the coronavirus-infected patients may suffer from insulin resistance and weaker immunity. A diabetic patient would be infected by coronavirus easily, the physicians added.

Meanwhile, a pre-diabetic patient’s condition would deteriorate if he or she is being infected by coronavirus.

Diabetic Association of Bangladesh president professor AK Azad Khan said the pandemic has an impact on mental health, and changes people’s food habit as well as their daily life, posing risks of high blood sugar.

Citing that the coronavirus infection deteriorates health condition of a diabetic patient, he strongly recommends diabetic patients for maintaining health guidelines.

*This report appeared in Prothom Alo print and online edition, and has been rewritten in English by Sadiqur Rahman

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