why people with obesity are more likely to die from coronavirus?
As worldwide coronavirus-related deaths tip a quarter of a million, a concerning trend is surfacing in the medical literature: high rates of obesity in groups of patients with severe or life-threatening COVID-19.
A recent report from New York shows more than two in every five people requiring a breathing tube were obese. A report from one intensive care unit in France found almost 90% of morbidly obese patients admitted required mechanical ventilation compared to less than half of those with lower body weight.
There are several reason why patients with obesity admitted to intensive care with COVID-19 may require invasive ventilation.
Higher levels of fat in the chest and belly put pressure on the lungs, making it difficult for people with obesity to fill them to capacity under normal circumstances. This reduced breathing capacity may add to respiratory distress in patients with COVID-19.
Carrying extra weight also means there is higher oxygen demand. Some patients with obesity might breathe too shallowly or too slowly to provide enough oxygen to the body, and some may intermittently cease breathing altogether.
Both of these factors already put strain on the heart and lungs, and may worsen COVID-19 symptoms. But they don’t seem to entirely explain the unexpectedly high rates of obesity in very sick coronavirus infected patients. This suggests that there may be other factors at play which are unique to this virus.
What Should Obese People Do To Be Safe From COVID-19 ?
People with obesity should take extra caution to protect themselves from getting COVID-19, including strict following social distancing measures.
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