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Year : 2023  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 55-56

It's time to focus on noncommunicable diseases amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Department of Community Medicine, AFMC, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission06-Feb-2022
Date of Acceptance15-Feb-2022
Date of Web Publication15-Feb-2023

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Suraj Kapoor
Department of Community Medicine, AFMC, Pune, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jphpc.jphpc_7_22

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How to cite this article:
Kapoor S. It's time to focus on noncommunicable diseases amid the COVID-19 pandemic. J Public Health Prim Care 2023;4:55-6

How to cite this URL:
Kapoor S. It's time to focus on noncommunicable diseases amid the COVID-19 pandemic. J Public Health Prim Care [serial online] 2023 [cited 2023 Jun 5];4:55-6. Available from: http://www.jphpc.org/text.asp?2023/4/1/55/369667

  Introduction Top

COVID-19 was declared as Public health emergency of international concern and Pandemic on January 30, 20, and March 11, 21 respectively by the WHO. The Pandemic caused by a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, has remained a public health concern[1] for almost 2 years now. At present, although some prevention, control, and management guidelines have been approved by various health authorities such as Food and Drug Administration, WHO, and the health authorities of different countries across the globe, still the number of deaths with a significantly high disability-adjusted life year remains the matter of concern.[2] There may be various reasons first, we are not fully aware of the natural history of the Pandemic. Second, the interventions in prevention, control, and the treatment of the disease were found lacking scientific basis namely inappropriate use of drugs like steroids, use of methods not scientifically proven like the inappropriate use of disinfection tunnel, emphasis on surface disinfection across the globe, although literature suggests that fomite transmission is a very rare entity.[3] Amid lack of necessary supplies like oxygen, medicines, and unavailability of hospital beds, there was the rise of hoarding and black-marketing. Fake Remdesivir and other medicines were manufactured and sold in different parts of India at a very high price. Over-the-counter sale of certain drugs like steroids not only lead to an epidemic of mucormycosis but may also have resulted in deranged glycemic control of many patients and may further have led to the severe outcome in COVID-19. Many such interventions not only led to wastage of scarce resources in the Pandemic, but also resulted in neglecting the important aspects like paying attention to risk factors for COVID-19, diabetes, and other noncommunicable diseases Another reason may be the strict restrictions in the form of lockdowns with limited physical activity may have added fuel to already burning trend of noncommunicable diseases. This commentary highlights the importance of paying attention to diabetes and other noncommunicable diseases amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

  Discussion Top

Noncommunicable diseases especially diabetes and obesity are important causes of morbidity and mortality across the globe. [Table 1] highlights the high prevalence of these comorbidities in the selected countries of different WHO regions. The current prevalence rates of diabetes are extremely high in countries throughout the world.[4] With the rise of omicron as a variant of concern, it has been seen that there is increased transmissibility but the majority of cases across the globe are less with lesser hospitalization rates. Although the matter of concern being the proportion of hospitalization is high among the patients having noncommunicable diseases, especially diabetes. Published literature suggests that COVID-19 patients with diabetes were highly vulnerable to a severe outcome or even fatality.[5] Another report from the United States reveals that almost 40% of the patient who died due to COVID-19 were diabetic.[6] A recent meta-analysis done in Europe also revealed that Diabetes is the most important cause for mortality in COVID-19 hospitalized patients.[7] If we see the hospitalization trends it also shows a similar picture as highlighted in a report in which nearly two-thirds of COVID-19 hospitalizations were attributed to obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart failure.[8]
Table 1: Comparison of various noncommunicable diseases-related epidemiological indicators of various countries

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Patients with diabetes mellitus have infections more often than those without diabetes. The course of the infections is also more complicated in this patient group. One of the possible causes of this increased prevalence of infections is defects in immunity.[9] This commentary highlights that the policymakers should draw attention to the growing trend of noncommunicable diseases especially important in the recent trend of the pandemic in which the majority of hospitalization is due to comorbidities, with diabetes and other noncommunicable diseases are in the top of the list. All the preventive and control strategies like vaccination should be prioritized based on such factors. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 goals of a one-third reduction in premature mortality, all the health authorities across the nation need to give due attention to this burning issue.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Kim M, Lee JY, Park JS, Kim HA, Hyun M, Suh YS, et al. Lessons from a COVID-19 hospital, Republic of Korea. Bull World Health Organ 2020;98:842-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
Organization WH. Therapeutics and COVID-19: LIVING GUIDELINE. World Health Organization; 2020. Available from: https://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep28000. [Last accessed on 2021 Jun 25].  Back to cited text no. 2
Lewis D. COVID-19 rarely spreads through surfaces. So why are we still deep cleaning? Nature 2021;590:26-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
Reddy PH. Can diabetes be controlled by lifestyle activities? Curr Res Diabetes Obes J 2017;1:555568.  Back to cited text no. 4
Kandil H, Ibrahim AE, Afifi N, Arafa A. Diabetes and risk of COVID-19 mortality: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Infect Dis Clin Pract (Baltim Md) 2021;29:e195-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
Study: Two in Five People in U.S. Who Died of COVID-19 had Diabetes. UPI; 2022. Available from: https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2021/07/15/diabetes-high-risk-condition-death/2781626314320. [Last accessed on 2022 Feb 06].  Back to cited text no. 6
Corona G, Pizzocaro A, Vena W, Rastrelli G, Semeraro F, Isidori AM, et al. Diabetes is most important cause for mortality in COVID-19 hospitalized patients: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Rev Endocr Metab Disord 2021;22:275-96.  Back to cited text no. 7
Most COVID-19 Hospitalizations Due to Four Conditions. National Institutes of Health (NIH); 2022. Available from: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/most-covid-19-hospitalizations-due-four-conditions. [Last accessed on 2022 February 06].  Back to cited text no. 8
Geerlings SE, Hoepelman AI. Immune dysfunction in patients with Diabetes Mellitus (DM). FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol 1999;26:259-65.  Back to cited text no. 9
National Family Health Survey. Available from: http://rchiips.org/nfhs/factsheet_nfhs-4.shtml. [Last accessed on 2021 Apr 15].  Back to cited text no. 10
Obesity and Overweight. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight. [Last accessed on 2021 Apr 15].  Back to cited text no. 11
Diabetes. Available from: https://www.who.int/westernpacific/health-topics/diabetes. [Last accessed on 2021 Apr 15].  Back to cited text no. 12


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