Diabetes, COPD common co-morbidities in COVID victims

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Panaji: Diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and hypertension are the most common pre-existing co-morbidities prevalent among symptomatic COVID positive patients in the state.

Speaking to ‘The Navhind Times,’ state epidemiologist Dr Utkarsh Betodkar said these four co-morbidities were also common in COVID fatalities Goa has seen so far.

“We have found that the prevalence of diabetes, asthma, COPD and hypertension are the top four underlying health conditions amongst the symptomatic COVID positive patients and the same were also common among the patients, who have lost the battle against the virus,” Dr Betodkar.

Dr Betodkar said chronic kidney disease is also prevalent and added that two or more co-morbidities were found in some cases.

“Diabetes is one disease that changes the entire picture in our body. When a diabetic person is infected, the sugar level increases and because the patient’s sugar level increases, the infection spreads faster,” he explained.

Dr Betodkar, who is also the nodal officer for COVID-19 at the directorate of health services (DHS), appealed to the people, who are suffering from diabetes, asthma, COPD, hypertension and other life-threatening diseases to visit health facilities without any delay, if they develop symptoms of the dreaded COVID-19.

“The results are not always in a doctor’s hands, it also counts what damage has been already done to the body prior to admission in hospital…but at least if they are brought to the health facilities on time for the required treatment then their chances of survival will be extremely high,” he said referring to the cases wherein two persons, who were brought dead to health facilities tested positive for the virus postmortem.

When asked what could be the factors that have led to the mounting COVID deaths in Goa, Dr Betodkar said that the state is probably seeing the peak of the pandemic. He said when there is a surge in cases, fatalities are on the rise. “The deaths will decrease when the peak comes down. The peak may remain for some time,” he said.

Dr Betodkar said the DHS is focusing on testing potential COVID patients on priority which also includes patients of influenza-like illness, severe acute respiratory infections or any suspected cases as decided by the clinician, visitors to the state, high-risk contacts of positive cases and people in the containment zones.