Diabetes In COVID Era

41 million people died each year due to Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). That is equivalent to 71% of the global deaths. There are 4 groups of NCDs that account for over 80% of all premature NCD deaths. Diabetes is one of them.


Diabetes is a condition that causes impairment to the body’s ability to process glucose in the blood. Insulin is a hormone that helps blood sugar to enter your body cells which can be then used for energy.

Type 1 Diabetes (Juvenile Diabetes)

The body is UNABLE TO PRODUCE insulin. People diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes are insulin-dependent. This means that they must take artificial insulin daily to stay alive.

Type 2 Diabetes (The most common form of Diabetes)

The body is UNABLE TO USE insulin efficiently. People with Type 2 Diabetes can control their blood sugar levels through a healthy diet and regular exercise. They may need medication or insulin to help to manage it.


A healthy diet and regular exercises are the main components of reducing and preventing one’s risk of getting diabetes. However, with lockdown being in place, food consumption and exercise have changed.

The bombardment of food delivery adverts has, subconsciously, driven a person to become more and more dependent on it instead of cooking at home. The never-ending promotions have made it more ‘worthwhile’ to order through the apps.

With gyms and parks being closed, people are unable to do their usual exercise. The lack of equipment and the small space can be a hindrance.

All that, plus the stress of being cooped up at home 24/7, it may drive one to make more and more poor dietary choices and lowers the motivation to exercise.

A survey even revealed that 48% of respondents have put on weight during the UK lockdown. In a cohort analysis in India, it is found that 40% of the cohort experienced weight gain. 16% of them had a weight increment between 2.1 kg to 5.0 kg. The analysis also found an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes due to this weight gain.


In the ASEAN region, Malaysia probably has the distinction of having the highest prevalence of diabetes. The National Health and Morbidity Survey 2019 (NHMS 2019) revealed the steady trend of diabetes prevalence since 2011.

The overall prevalence jumped by almost 5% to 18.3% in 2019 compared to 13.4% in 2015. It is scary to note that almost half of the respondents did not know that they are diabetic.


We are responsible for our own wellbeing. With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, we should take the opportunity to start exercising and make better food choices. In the event of another major lockdown, we have to be extra mindful and reduce our risks of getting diabetes as much as we can!


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