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Diabetics, hypertension sufferers can survive Covid-19

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Coronavirus survivor Pitso Molemane has urged patients who are diabetic and suffer from hypertension to remain positive despite the grim information that the two conditions contributed to most Covid-19 deaths.

Kaya FM acting news editor and diabetes ambassador Pitso Molemane survived the coronavirus despite being diabetic and hypertensive. Supplied

Coronavirus survivor Pitso Molemane has urged patients who are diabetic and suffer from hypertension, like himself, to remain positive despite the grim information that the two conditions contributed to most Covid-19 deaths.

The Kaya FM acting news editor, 43, told The Star on Tuesday that he got tested for the virus after an employee from the radio station was infected. Molemane went before the day he was due to be tested because he is hypertensive and has been a diabetic for 36 years.

“On July 1 my temperature was too high, it was 39.8ºC, and I was concerned so I had to rush to the facility for testing at Dis-Chem in Cradlestone Mall, Krugersdorp. Upon receiving my results, it confirmed that I had contracted the virus,” he said.

The diabetes ambassador said he was very worried when he received his results because he had heard that most of the Covid-19 patients who died were diabetic, hypertensive or both.

“I suffer from both of these comorbidities and there haven’t been positive stories of people who have these (conditions). My fear was that I wouldn’t survive,” he said.

After he received his results, Molemane contacted Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku and other coronavirus experts for advice on how he could survive the virus with his pre-existing conditions while he self-quarantined at home.

Molemane said that diabetes was also a pandemic and that it felt like two pandemics were clashing in his body.

“What was important for me was to make sure that my blood sugar level on a daily basis was normal because I’ve been living with Type 1 diabetes for 36 years and I’m on insulin. Luckily I already knew how to manage and control my diabetes,” he said.

He had to check his daily blood sugar level and if it was higher than normal, he had to increase his insulin dose while simultaneously taking vitamins and zinc to fight the coronavirus.

Molemane said that while he was in self-quarantine, he was able to be introspective about his life, health and living with diabetes, as well as his work educating listeners about diabetes on Lesedi FM.

“I have an in-depth knowledge of diabetes and for 36 years I have lived this dangerous life, a life with injections on a daily basis. What is coronavirus to me? I can beat this coronavirus because I’ve been beating diabetes for 36 years,” he said.

He said his positive attitude and the support of his partner who did a lot of research to protect herself and their 10-year-old child helped.

He added that he felt fortunate that he only had a high temperature and not the more severe coronavirus symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea and headaches.

Molemane advised other coronavirus patients who were living with diabetes and hypertension to keep a positive attitude and that those who were managing their diabetes well to continue doing so.

“People should also avoid social media during this period because a lot of our friends are not posting about the positives of the virus. They are posting the stats about infections and deaths so if you are weak, you could fall victim to the negativity,” he said.

@Chulu_M