New Delhi: Six in every 10 diabetics surveyed in India have expressed concern about catching Covid-19 and getting hospitalised for the disease, found a study by UK-based market research firm Kantar.
Released Tuesday on World Diabetes Day, the study titled ‘D-Picture: COVID Edition’ found that 60 per cent of the diabetics interviewed showed higher concern about their health due to Covid. “This number is significantly higher than concerns about health amongst average Indian consumers, which stood at 45 per cent,” the study said.
It also highlighted that the fear of uncontrolled blood sugar is significantly higher among people living in the four main metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
“While the pandemic has caused many disruptions in day-to-day lives, it has led to higher sensitivity towards health management, leading to better regimentation among diabetes patients,” said Gauri Pathak, General Manager (India), Health Division, Kantar in the press statement.
“Also, openness to use telephone and digital media has increased and is likely to continue to be preferred in the near future.”
According to the International Diabetes Federation, older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the Covid-19 virus.
“When people with diabetes develop a viral infection, it can be harder to treat due to fluctuations in blood glucose levels and, possibly, the presence of diabetes complications,” the federation noted.
Diabetics meticulously monitoring at home
The study covered 300 Type 2 diabetes patients across 12 cities, all belonging to the upper socio-economic class. The findings showed that insulin users had a higher concern about blood sugars versus patients on oral therapy due to the outbreak.
“Despite the lockdown, more than 70 percent of people consulted their physician in the period between April to September 2020. People used virtual methods of consultations such as telephone, WhatsApp etc,” it said.
The pandemic also resulted in patients being more gluco-vigilant. “Nearly one third of the respondents who own a glucometer have purchased it after the pandemic struck, leading to more meticulous monitoring at home.”
Messages and video calls to doctors rise
According to the study, remote patient monitoring is on the rise with virtual video consultations using digital apps showing a sharp rise to 13 per cent from 3 per cent in pre-Covid times.
“Apart from using apps, an increasing number of patients have also resorted to texting doctors on WhatsApp. It is up from 10% in pre-COVID to (up to) 26% during Covid.”
The study, however, pointed out that only 5 per cent of the respondents have used specialised digital consultation platforms such as Practo and Lybrate — which specialise in digital health consultations — during the pandemic.