Obesity and COVID-19

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Obesity and COVID-19

As the novel coronavirus sweeps the globe, it’s effecting many people young and old. But some are more susceptible and higher risk than others. One of the major high-risk factors is among people suffering with severe obesity and obesity-related conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

Severe obesity is defined by the CDC as a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above, putting people at a much higher risk for complications. Just as the data, research and facts of the coronavirus are changing constantly, so is the weight-connected to higher risk for COVID-19 theory. A few researchers have actually found that hospital admissions with COVID-19 primarily depended on age and secondly followed by obesity.

            Is it obesity itself that puts people higher at risk for Covid-19 related complications or is the co-morbidities that commonly follow? Horwitz’s co-author, Christopher Petrilli, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at NYU Langone Health said “We do find that obesity is indeed an independent risk for development of severe COVID-19 disease requiringhospitalization or intensive care, even accounting for the fact that many of those patients also have diabetes or heart disease,”.

While this is just one of many studies on the link of obesity and COVID-19 risks, there are also findings showing that people considered overweight (a BMI of 25-31) obese (a BMI of 30-40) and severely obese (a BMI over 40) Survived more often than people in a normal or underweight category.

One of the leading causes of COVID-19 related deaths is due to a condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), it’s an inflammatory lung injury leading to low levels of oxygen in a person’s blood stream. This is the main cause for hospitals desperately in need for ventilators.

            The findings show that people of higher weight may have protective benefits against ARDS, and was actually named the “obesity paradox” after many studies on the findings.

            Whether or not you are or aren’t at ‘high-risk” the CDC gives the same recommendations for all (stay home, wash your hands, avoid close contact, clean and disinfect surfaces, and stay away from cruises).