By Sola Ogundipe
During the three months of COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria, it was a challenging situation for many persons suffering from chronic health conditions such as diabetes.
One of the challenges during this period was maintaining the regular checking of blood glucose levels. For many, the effort to achieve the goals of treatment is like a moving target.
Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease, where patients need to keep their blood sugar level, blood pressure, lipid level, and body weight under control to prevent its long term complications and also avoiding hypoglycemia and weight gain.
Situations like the lockdown certainly worsened the control of diabetes due to many factors like non-availability of medicines and insulin injections, non-availability of consumables required for diabetes monitoring and treatment devices like glucometers, infusion pump, etc.
Changes in lifestyle and the daily schedule, stress, lack of physical activity, increased eating, etc., all play a role in the worsening of blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
In such situations, diabetes control and management need to take proactive measures to have all these parameters under control.
According to 42-year-old Titi Idowu, she is at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus because she is diabetic.
“I have been diabetic for years and have adopted healthy eating habits but as a result of the lockdown, a marked reduction in physical activity and combined with a sedentary lifestyle, became a real threat to my blood sugar levels,” Titi remarked.
“I had to take particular care in managing my blood glucose during this time because I was at home 24/7 and the desire to snack continuously almost became normal in my day. Because of that, I had to be testing my blood sugar more frequently.”
Daniel who is also diabetic managed to be regular with diet and exercise, despite the lockdown, but he lagged in the monitoring of his blood sugar.
“I’m on treatment but I was not checking my blood sugar levels regularly because I did not have access to a self-monitoring blood glucose test during the lockdown. It was only occasionally that I was able to do the checks when I visited the local clinic,” he explained.
Somehow it was a bit of a risk for Daniel not being able to keep his diabetes under control and avoiding potential complications.
Luckily, in the interest of people living with diabetes in Nigeria, pharmaceutical companies have been busy developing options to help them carry out close monitoring of their glucose levels.
Prior to the lockdown, Roche Diabetes Care had pushed its new self-monitoring product, the Accu Chek Instant blood glucose monitoring system, and the MySugr App into the market.
For practical purposes, the new glucometer which offers benefits over regular devices is the perfect solution for people like Titi, Daniel, and thousands of others living with diabetes and are seeking relief regardless of the lockdown limitations.
With the COVID-19 pandemic rendering those with co-morbidities more vulnerable to the infection, persons with diabetes are compelled to check their blood glucose levels with simple, easy to use glucometers at home frequently.
Experts say most diabetic patients desire a cheaper blood glucose monitoring system that would also be more accessible so that they can keep their glucose levels within desired targets.
A regular check of blood sugar monitoring is non-negotiable. The coronavirus pandemic is known to severely affect people with co-morbidities like diabetes. The automatic and remote monitoring of diabetes-related data provided by the glucometer in combination with the app offers the peace of mind that is required at these times.
Nigerians diagnosed with diabetes but under proper control and management achieve control of their blood glucose. Monitoring sugar levels is not just the most obvious step, but also one of the most important. Having a reliable blood glucose monitor at home helps achieve the aim of maintaining levels at normal ranges when fasting and after meals.