5 Reasons Why Obesity Increases Your COVID-19 Risk

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Possible reasons

Although it hasn’t been exactly discovered why patients with obesity are so adversely affected by COVID-19, Dr. Aminian mentioned a few suggestions:

  • Weakened immunity – Patients with obesity (and other associated risk diseases like diabetes) generally suffer from weakened innate and adaptive immunity, which makes them more susceptible to infections.
  • Overactive immune response – Obesity is a chronic inflammatory state, that causes a person’s body to produce too much cytokine, those molecules that communicate and regulate the immune system. Even more, COVID-19 infections also trigger the release of cytokines. These two combined can only lead to a massive excess of cytokine in the body, which is also called “a cytokine storm”, that can cause damage to multiple body organs. As Dr. Aminian explains, this is why patients with obesity experience such severe responses with Covid-19.
  • Cardiovascular risks – Patients with obesity have underlying cardiovascular diseases, that comes with many associated risks, like diabetes and hypertension. All these combined can contribute to difficulties stemming from a COVID-19 infection.
  • Increased risk of blood clots – Patients who are obese or overweight present a higher risk of suffering from blood clots, which is a condition that’s also associated with Covid-19. Dr Aminian comes to our rescue again with an explanation: “Covid-19 damages the endothelium(the cellular lining of blood vessels). Autopsies have shown that blood clots and widespread severe endothelial damage can be two of the causes of increased mortality in a lot of patients who contract Covid-19.”
  • Damaged pulmonary system – Obesity damages the mechanics of both the chest wall and diaphragm, which makes the patients vulnerable to other lung conditions, like sleep apnea, asthma, and obesity hypoventilation syndrome. These issues can only be aggravated by other known pulmonary issues that come with Covid-19 infections.
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