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Diabetes Can Make Dengue More Lethal!

By Dixit Arora +2 more

More than 30 million people in India live with diabetes and statistics say that more than 2 lakh people contract dengue every year. Are you wondering why we are linking the two illnesses? Read on to know why.

It turns out that diabetes can worsen the complications caused by dengue and now that winter is almost here, the dengue menace has shot up too. If you are a diabetic, you should be extra cautious about mosquitoes this season, because dengue is more dangerous for you than for non-diabetics.  

Diabetes Can Make Dengue More Lethal! - PharmEasy

Diabetes and dengue: The deadly combination

A group of doctors in Chennai has made a startling discovery. They studied 4000 people who had been hospitalized with dengue in 2019. The severity of symptoms differed from one patient to the other. Some were discharged in a couple of days while others had to stay back and receive a plasma transplant. 

While going over the patients’ medical history, doctors found that 20% of the patients had something in common – diabetes. Those dengue patients, whose blood sugar was high, developed grave complications triggered by dengue. They suffered intense abdominal pain, extremely high fever and splitting headaches. Further tests at the hospital revealed that the high-risk diabetes patients also suffered internal haemorrhage and collapse of the circulatory system (which doctors call haemorrhagic shock). 

In some of the diabetes patients, dengue caused very severe complications. They suffered from respiratory problems, persistent vomiting, sore throat that makes swallowing difficult, continuous coughing, etc and by the time they were brought to a hospital, they were blue in the face and their pulse rate was alarmingly low. 

This caused the doctors to declare diabetes as one of the illnesses that increases the fatality of dengue.

Blood glucose is an important factor for viral replication, and it basically facilitates virus transmission in mosquitoes, dengue causes fever and increases metabolic rate, which can lead to a rise in fluctuation in blood sugar levels, strict monitoring is very critical.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D.

Dengue Shock Syndrome

In cases of normal dengue, patients may experience no symptoms, mild symptoms or severe symptoms. These classical dengue symptoms may include headaches, rashes, low white blood cell levels, nausea weakness and of course fever. As mentioned above, sometimes dengue can progress into something called a Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF). DHF may affect certain people more often, for example, diabetics. Other people may go on to suffer something called Dengue Shock Syndrome. This is characterised by the same symptoms of internal haemorrhage, low pulse, change in mental state, change in blood pressure that happen with DHF. Additionally, Dengue shock syndrome results in multiple organ failures, failure in the circulatory system and a high risk of death (about 10% fatality rate).

Pathologically, dengue is characterised by high levels of inflammatory markers like CRP, endocan and IL-8. Thus, the dengue could be more fatal in patients that have co-morbid conditions of inflammation such as in diabetes

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

Why does diabetes magnify dengue complications?

There is not enough evidence that can tell us why diabetes makes dengue more dangerous. But doctors believe that since a person with diabetes has weak immunity, fragile blood vessels and a higher risk of haemorrhage, symptoms of dengue tend to worsen in diabetics. Dengue destroys a person’s platelets which lead to blood clotting. Together, diabetes and dengue cause a lot of damage inside the body and make it difficult for the diabetic to recover.

What can you do?

Winter, especially the beginning of winter, is when dengue incidents peak. Here are a few things that diabetics can do-

  • Always use mosquito nets when you sleep at night.
  • When you go out, apply mosquito-repellent cream on your arms, legs and neck.
  • Use mosquito-repellent oils during all times of the day when you are home.
  • Do not let water accumulate near your home or mosquitoes will breed there.
  • Wear outfits and shirts with long sleeves. 
  • As for your diabetes, monitor your blood sugar level regularly.
  • Do not forget your insulin shots and medication.
  • Stick to the prescribed diet and exercise routine. 

Also Read: 5 Effective Preventive Measures for Dengue

If you have diabetes, you have to be extra careful about mosquitoes. Follow the precautions mentioned above to stay healthy and safe.

Read More: Difference Between Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.


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