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World Malaria Day 2022: How Is Diabetes Linked To Malaria?

Every year on 25 April, World Malaria Day is observed to raise awareness of this highly infectious disease which is spread by mosquitoes and to raise awareness about its effective treatment and preventive measures. Malaria was responsible for around 627,000 deaths worldwide in 2020, and 241 million clinical episodes, as per a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Studies say that in some countries like in sub-Saharan Africa, diabetes and infectious diseases like malaria are related, as diabetes, mainly caused due to adaptation of unhealthy lifestyle and genetics, may affect people's immune system and put them at increased risk of malaria infection.

A case-control study carried out on adults in Ghana (West Africa) had shown that people with type 2 diabetes are at a 46 per cent increased risk of infection caused due to Plasmodium falciparum, a protozoan that causes malaria in humans. [1]

In this article, we will discuss the association between diabetes and malaria in detail. Take a look.

How Are Diabetes And Malaria Related?

Both diabetes and malaria are common in developing countries and are major global health issues. Though a direct link between the two is not established in many studies, some studies do mention that malaria is commonly found in diabetics.

Malaria during pregnancy can affect the growth and development of the baby and lead to conditions like anaemia and low birth weight in newborns. Low birth weight is often associated with an increased risk of diabetes, insulin resistance and obesity. [2]

If malaria during pregnancy is effectively managed on time, the risk of diabetes in children can easily be prevented.

Another study has shown that malaria-infected diabetic mice can infect other mosquitoes more efficiently compared to those not infected. [3]

Additionally, a study has mentioned that people with diabetes who have also been infected with malarial protozoa Plasmodium falciparum are three times more likely to develop complications of malaria compared to non-diabetics. [4]

How Can The Risk Of Malaria Be Prevented In Diabetics?

  • Maintaining blood sugar levels by regular exercise, a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
  • Maintaining personal hygiene like sneezing and coughing by covering the nose and mouth and washing hands frequently.
  • Not sharing insulin pens.
  • Getting a flu vaccine every year. Though the flu vaccine is not the perfect solution, it is still useful in preventing complications. With the invention of a new malaria vaccine Mosquirix, the risk can be reduced to a great extent.
  • Taking good care of your feet by wearing clean socks and good material footwear.
  • Eating immune-boosting foods or herbs after consulting a medical expert.
  • Taking prescribed medications timely.
  • Consult a medical expert as early as possible after noticing malaria symptoms such as high fever, flu, chills, muscle ache and vomiting.

Why Not To Consume Curd At Night

To Conclude

Diabetics are at greater risk of malaria and other infections, compared to non-diabetics. Take great care of yourself if you have diabetes and make ways to boost the immune system and keep yourself away from the risk of infections.

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