Are You at Risk of Developing Complications from COVID-19? Find Out Here
As scientists and medical professionals begin to learn more about the deadly COVID-19 global pandemic, it is becoming clear that there are definitive underlying conditions that make people more susceptible to developing serious complications that increase the rate of death. In addition to more males than females passing away as a result of the virus, there are also a host of underlying conditions that put you at a higher risk of developing complications. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here are a few of the factors that may influence how your body responds to the virus.
The most commonly seen risk factor in those that have a higher chance of passing away is age. Older people are more likely to require hospitalization when infected with the virus. According to the CDC, 80% of the deaths in the US have come in people age 65 or older. Because the elderly have more risk factors in general, their advanced age simply compounds the issue even further. This explains why nursing homes are especially vulnerable to becoming hot spots for the virus to thrive.
There are a variety of conditions that may cause a person to be classified as immunocompromised. Organ transplant patients, those undergoing cancer treatment, and other immune deficiencies are a few of the most common conditions that may interfere with a person's normal immune function. These people need to be especially mindful of taking steps to avoid contracting the virus. Smoking cigarettes can also weaken the immune system and make you more susceptible to experiencing life-threatening complications with the coronavirus. HIV and AIDS are also serious health issues that attack the body's normal immune function and put you at an increased risk, making you more likely to contract other types of infection. Anybody in this risk group needs to be especially vigilant and seek medical help immediately if coronavirus symptoms appear.
Those with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are also at an increased risk of contracting a more serious form of the virus as blood sugar levels spike in response to the illness. Patients who do not manage their blood sugar properly set the virus up to thrive and grow in the body. In addition, higher levels of inflammation as a result of diabetes weakens the immune system, making it more difficult to fight off the virus and return the body to a normal state of health.
Lung and Asthma Issues
People who typically suffer from asthma or other types of lung conditions are more likely to develop complications if they come down with coronavirus. Examples of conditions more likely to exacerbate the problem include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis, and interstitial lung disease. Because the virus attacks the lungs and airways, the other organs in the body have to work harder to deliver oxygen. This puts those with underlying heart issues also at risk of being hospitalized.
Severe obesity is defined as those with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher. It is not unusual for those who are obese to also exhibit other risk factors, compounding the issue. Being severely overweight puts the body in a position to not be able to ignite the immune function as it alters white blood cell counts. Those patients who are obese also display a higher inflammation component that makes it harder for the body to get to work to effectively fight the virus.
Kidney and Liver Disease
According to the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), it has been shown that people with kidney disease have a harder time fighting the virus without serious medical intervention. Likewise, those patients with liver issues also have to deal with a weakened immune system as it fights to regulate white blood cell levels to launch an attack on the virus.
All of these risk factors help to explain while certain populations and areas of the country with a higher proportion of unhealthy people are seeing more serious cases of COVID-19. If you fall into any of these categories, it is especially vital that you take the necessary steps to protect yourself.
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