Express News Service

KOCHI: For a state formerly titled the diabetic capital of the country, a lockdown can mean several things. While the public is cooped up to avoid the spread of a communicable disease, non-communicable diseases are silently brewing in our households. Erratic sleep schedules, binge eating high-calorie foods and lack of exercise can generate an unseen increase in lifestyle diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular troubles and hypertension.

While memes on weight gain during the lockdown flood the social media, specialists warn people to prioritise their physical and mental health. Chronic diseases are ever so common in Kerala’s populace. As per data with the Centre for Developmental Studies, 52.5 per cent males between the ages of 15 and 60+ suffer from high/low BP as against 56.3 per cent females in the same age bracket. 

Similarly, 41.6 per cent males and 38.8 per cent females are diabetic patients above the age of 15. Coupled with cardiovascular diseases, a significant increase in the number of such patients are expected after the lockdown, say experts. “As we have limited resources, I’ve planned an exclusive menu for my patients, comprising a healthy diet. Complex carbohydrates can be eaten with a balanced intake of vitamins and minerals. As per the Indian Council of Medical Research, our calorie intake is based on our physical activity which is classified as a sedentary, modern and heavy worker. Currently, the intake specified is less than our physical requirement,” says Mumtaz Khalid, consultant clinical nutritionist, Rainbow Polyclinic, Padamughal.

Dr Hari Prasad K V, assistant surgeon at the Community Health Centre, says that while indoor physical activity is stressed upon in such circumstances, ASHA workers deliver NCD (non-communicable diseases) drugs to patients who urgently require the same.

Mental anguish, a trigger 
According to Dr C J John, chief psychiatrist, Medical Trust Hospital, non-communicable diseases can be caused by emotional distress. “We do anticipate an increase in such problems. A restricted life coupled with uncertainties can hamper mental health. People should acknowledge the same, be prepared and have a mechanism to alleviate distress. It is a proven fact that emotional well-being makes one strong enough to fight the virus,” he says.

What can be done?
James Joseph, founder of Jackfruit365, stresses on the intake of fruits and vegetables. “WHO says the consumption of fruits and vegetables must increase — it is the only defence against the virus and it increases the immunity level. People who depend more on rice and wheat are likely to develop diabetes, as the foods contain starch. It is a co-morbidity for the coronavirus.” he says. Fret not, for those worried about the supply and shelf-life of vegetables, this is the best time to grow microgreens. “These can be grown at home in smaller spaces and are enormously healthy with nutrients that could boost immunity. At least a 15-minute workout must be completed at home,” says Mumtaz Khalid, clinical nutritionist.

52.5% males between the ages of 15 and 60+ suffer from high/low BP as against 56.3 per cent females in the same age bracket. 

Help available 
 ASHA workers deliver  non-communicable diseases drugs to patients who urgently require the same.

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