Obesity and Covid 19

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Obesity has been rated high as a risk factor for a poor outcome with COVID-19 19.  Risk factors still note that age and comorbidities are significant factors in developing pneumonia with COVID-19.   With respect to obesity, there are now a number of studies that have concluded that obesity is a significant risk factor. Obesity affects most of the physiological processes of the body but it can modify the function of the immune system and how the immune system responds to infection.

A meta-analysis published in Obesity Research and Clinical Practice in July 2020 found that obesity changes the immune system and can affect cellular response to infection.  Obese people may also suffer from diabetes and other cardiovascular disorders that are considered risk factors for Covid-19.  Another point the study made is that those who are obese have a higher need of advanced respiratory support.

A study presented in the European Journal of Endocrinology in April 2020 concluded that obesity has a strong independent risk factor for respiratory failure and admission to the ICU.  They concluded a BMI of greater than 30 kg/m2 would put the patient at risk for more severe complications.  A BMI greater than 35 kg/m2 dramatically increases the risk of death.  Although there may be a slight difference in labeling BMI kg/m2 to BMI lb./in2, the problem is still the same.  The person will be considered obese.

It is vital that people who are obese protect themselves from infection by wearing a mask, social distancing, and avoiding enclosed spaces and those who may be infected.  One of the studies (Rottoli et al., 2020) stated” obesity should be considered one of the most important parameters to identify the population at risk” of getting COVID-19.

1.Hussain, A., Mahawar, K., Xia, Z., Yang, W., & EL-Hasani, S. (2020). Obesity and mortality of COVID-19. Meta-analysis. In Obesity Research and Clinical Practice (Vol. 14, Issue 4, pp. 295–300). Elsevier Ltd.

2.Rottoli, M., Bernante, P., Belvedere, A., Balsamo, F., Garelli, S., Giannella, M., Cascavilla, A., Tedeschi, S., Ianniruberto, S., Del Turco, E. R., Tonetti, T., Ranieri, V. M., Poggioli, G., Manzoli, L., Pagotto, U., Viale, P., & Bartoletti, M. (2020). How important is obesity as a risk factor for respiratory failure, intensive care admission and death in hospitalised COVID-19 patients? Results from a single Italian centre. European Journal of Endocrinology183(4), 389–397.

3.Scheen, A. J. (2020). Obesity and risk of severe COVID-19. Revue Medicale Suisse16(695), 1115–1119.

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