Obesity can Lead to Greater Risk of Death from the Coronavirus
Obesity can Lead to Greater Risk of Death from the Coronavirus
May 8, 2020 by eMedEvents

With the worldwide number of coronavirus cases nearing 4 million worldwide, researchers have come across a disturbing trend, there are high rates of severe coronavirus symptoms in patients who suffer from obesity. In fact, the pattern is so concerning, that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now list severe obesity as a risk factor for COVID-19 cases. The CDC considers anyone with a body mass index (BMI) of over 40, to be obese.

The New England Journal of Medicine reported that two of every 5 patients in New York, who required a breathing tube to pump the proper amount of oxygen into the body, were obese. In another shocking report, this one coming out of France, one hospital reported nearly 90% of obese patients needed a ventilator. Researchers have numerous speculations for this coronavirus trend. Higher levels of fat can put added pressure on the lungs, which coronavirus has been known to attack, making it hard for lungs to fill their capacity of oxygen.  Medical News Today reported that individuals with obesity “tend to have more resistance in their airways, have lower lung volumes and weaker respiratory muscles, which is needed to combat COVID-19. In direct relation to these factors, people who suffer from obesity are more likely to develop pneumonia. In addition, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and prediabetes could make people more vulnerable to infection”.

Diving deeper into the statistics, still does not bode well for those who are considered obese. A team of experts from the UK, US, and Germany conducted research and released the data to the public. One study found in China, out of 383 patients, there was a 142% higher probability of developing severe coronavirus symptoms in the obese patients. In a smaller study, with 24 patients out of Seattle, 62% of obese patients infected with COVID-19 died, as compared to just 38% of patients who are not obese.

Individuals with obesity should adhere to the government’s nationwide mandate of social distancing. Public health attention should be drawn to impoverished areas of the country, because areas where there is less economical success tend to be where obesity and poor diet exist. The intensive care treatment threshold should be lowered for subjects with obesity, to prevent severe infection. Before this new data arrived on the coronavirus, it appeared that the most likely people to die from COVID-19 were the elderly and those with preexisting health conditions. It now seems another group has joined the list of patients, who are most likely to suffer from severe coronavirus conditions.

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