The coronavirus pandemic has been a pain in the butt on so many levels. Death, economic disaster, lost opportunities and disruption of daily life follow it just about everywhere. Diabetes is an equal pain in the butt, but we’ve found our share of “bright sides” to living with diabetes – ranging from developing better health habits to getting seated faster in restaurants (if you play your cards right). But is there a silver lining to the coronavirus for people with diabetes?
Apparently, there is. A recent study in Italy examined the glucose control of patients with type-1 diabetes before, during and after the Italian Government imposed a national lockdown for 10 weeks in the spring. Guess what? Blood sugar time in-range improved significantly from pre-shutdown to during and after the shutdown, and the average glucose improved significantly from pre-shutdown to post-shutdown with no change in the incidence of hypoglycemia. Interestingly, most of the improvement in glucose control took place between the hours of 4am and 10am.
Why the improvement during and after the COVID lockdown? It wasn’t weight loss – there was an increase in weight during the lockdown period. It wasn’t adoption of new technology – fewer people used CGM during the lockdown. And it wasn’t a sudden change in exercise patterns – nearly half of study participants reported a reduction in daily exercise.
What the researchers did discover was that the study participants ate far fewer meals outside the home, which means less dietary fat. This can certainly account for better fasting glucose control, as high-fat dinners can cause a delayed rise through the night. They also noticed better and longer sleep patterns (as most were not waking up early for work). This can translate into more stable glucose levels through the night. And although “exercise” may have been reduced with the closure of gyms, many people are finding that their overall level of physical activity (including walking, yardwork, house cleaning, active projects) has increased considerably since Covid.
Bottom line… LIFESTYLE MATTERS. Even if you have the latest and greatest technology for managing your diabetes, it takes a healthy lifestyle to bring out the best results. Even something as deadly as Covid can’t and shouldn’t get in the way of making the right lifestyle choices.
If you or a loved one are looking to make some lifestyle changes and could use a helping hand, please reach out. Our clinicians are experts at coaching people on adopting healthy ways of living.
In the meantime, please keep yourself safe and Covid-free. Remember, there is nothing we can’t accomplish by working together.