Preliminary findings of a study in which researchers are establishing the extent to which people who battled COVID-19 got newly diagnosed with diabetes after infection show the problem is only short term.
Dr. Susan Nakireka a Diabetician based at Mengo hospital told URN in an interview that full results of this study are expected in February or March but in that analysis that is still ongoing they have found majority will not develop full blown diabetes.
She explains that the problem of elevated blood sugars amongst the sufferers was because of some the COVID-19 treatments like steroids which are given for their anti-inflammatory abilities.
At the height of the second wave of COVID-19 in Uganda when a lot of people tested positive for the virus and many presented with critical illness, the Ministry of Health released new treatment protocols where they recommended use of steroids such as dexamethasone for both hospitalized patients and those that were under home care.
However, when experts raised a red flag about the increasing sugar levels which also involved a statement against self – medication with drugs such dexamethasone and azithromycin by the he Council of Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda, the Ministry reviewed their treatment guidelines urging people on home care to follow nutritional guidelines and use medicines for COVID-19 only when prescribed by doctors.
Responding to concerns of treating COVID-19 with drugs that trigger Non-Communicable Diseases like Diabetes, Dr. Gerald Mutungi who heads the NCDs division at the Ministry of Health told a meeting organized by local NGO Uganda NCDs Alliance that it is a common happening in medicine giving an example of some HIV treatments raising sugar levels.
He said once they realized this problem with COVID-19, they embarked on training health workers on how to offer treatments like steroids carefully in moderation while constantly taking note of sufferers’ sugar levels.
Meanwhile, full results of this study will be released next year.