10 Things That May Increase Coronavirus Complications

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10 Things That Increase Your Risk of Coronavirus Complications

Underlying health issues continue to be a huge factor in the severity of reactions to the coronavirus. COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory virus, meaning that it attacks the lungs. The virus first attaches itself to mucous membranes in the nose, mouth, and even the eyes, which is why it’s important to avoid touching your face. Here are a few major ones. For more information on higher-risk groups, check out These Conditions Increase Your Risk for Severe Illness From Coronavirus.

1. Age

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 95 percent of people who have died because of COVID-19 in Europe were over the age of 60. What’s more, Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College London, estimates that 4% of people who are infected in their 60s die; and that number jumps significantly to 8.6% for people in their 70s.

2. Location

Outside of physical concerns, where you live is a huge factor in terms of whether you are on the front lines of the pandemic. For example, as New York City became an epicenter of the coronavirus crisis, many of its residents began—against advice—retreating to second homes in smaller communities, such as Cape Cod. The result of the migration, and others similar to it, has lead to the continued spread of the virus and put added strain on areas of the country with insufficient medical resources.

3. Severe obesity

Why is the current death rate in New Orleans twice that of New York City, and four times that of Seattle? Some officials are suggesting that it’s because the residents of NOLA have obesity and obesity-related conditions in far higher numbers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that individuals who have a body mass index (BMI) above 40 are at higher risk.

4. Diabetes

While individuals with diabetes aren’t necessarily more likely to contract COVID-19 than those without the condition, diabetics do face a greater risk of severe complications from the coronavirus.

5. High blood pressure and hypertension

If you have blood pressure above 130/80, you may face severe complications if you contract COVID-19, the American Heart Association says. And according to analysis published by JAMA, 5.6 percent was the reported death rate for people in China who contracted the virus and also had high blood pressure.

For context, normal blood pressure ranges are lower than 120/80, while elevated rates are between 121-129/80-89—hypertension stage 1 starts at 140/90 or higher. If you have high blood pressure, make sure to limit your alcohol and caffeine intake, and stock up on any medication prescribed by your doctor prescribes.

6. Heart conditions

While the coronavirus’ main point of attack is the lungs, it may also compromise the heart, says Orly Vardeny, associate professor of medicine at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System. And if you have a buildup of fatty tissue around their arteries, the impact of the virus can be far more severe—potentially causing heart attack, inflammation, or even heart failure, she says.

7. Chronic lung disease

Because of the way the virus attacks the body, individuals with lung issues, such as asthma, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), can face serious complications—including pneumonia and excess fluid in the lungs. And, yes, smokers face a greater risk when it comes to COVID-19, the WHO says.

8. Kidney disease

Anyone who is on dialysis for kidney issues will have a weakened immune system, which can make them more susceptible to the coronavirus. The National Kidney Foundation notes that this is not a reason to stop dialysis, but it is necessary to take added precautions.

9. Liver disease

According to the American Liver Foundation, conditions such as cirrhosis, hepatitis C, and fatty liver disease can compromise the body and make an individual more likely to develop heart problems—which can result in variety of serious complications.

10. Cancer

Cancer patients are at a greater risk of severe coronavirus complications due to their compromised immune system, the American Cancer Society (ACS) says. The organization notes that individuals undergoing chemotherapy or having bone marrow transplants should remain highly cautious.

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