Experts battling COVID-19 say that three health conditions are the most dangerous when it comes to poor outcomes from the virus. Obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure appear to increase the risk of severe disease and mortality.
According to AARP, all three are inflammatory diseases that are widespread in U.S. adults and are closely linked. Obesity can lead to diabetes and high blood pressure. Both diabetes and hypertension can cause kidney and lung disease, which are also implicated in COVID-19 complications.
According to Forbes, statistically, obesity is most common risk factor for severe disease with over 30% of the population affected. Obesity causes several health issues that predispose people to COVID-19 complications. One of fat’s most powerful effects is suppression of the immune system’s response to the virus.
Obesity may also hinder immune response to a vaccine. Recent studies have shown that carrying excess weight increases the severity of the disease and causes a 50% increased risk of dying from COVID-19. The rate of obesity has been skyrocketing in America, prompting healthcare experts to refer to its juxtaposition with the coronavirus as an “epidemic within an epidemic.”
High blood pressure was present in 42% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in an analysis of 27 studies from eight countries, according to AARP. Even more shocking, the mortality rate doubled in those patients. But further studies found that the increased mortality rate applied only to those under the age of 40 who had high blood pressure. People over 40 were at increased risk of dying if their condition had caused heart disease or chronic kidney disease.
Diabetes can raise your risk of dying from COVID-19 threefold for those suffering from type 1 diabetes, and double that risk for people who have type 2 diabetes. The data was gathered from an analysis of the medical records of 61 million people in England and published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, says AARP.
Actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson tested positive for coronavirus while filming in Australia last March. The couple went into self-quarantine, an especially advisable measure for the 63-year-old actor who said he has type 2 diabetes and a stent in his heart. According to the American Diabetes Association, viral infections can exacerbate heart disease and other complications of diabetes. They can also increase inflammation, or internal swelling, in people with diabetes.
Those with type 1 diabetes may develop diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA, which influences fluid intake and electrolyte levels, crucial in managing sepsis and sepsis shock, potentially deadly conditions experienced by some people with COVID-19. Experts say that monitoring your health conditions, losing weight, and practicing precautionary measures such as wearing masks, social distancing, and washing your hands can reduce the risk of COVID-19 and its complications.
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