It’s no secret that coronavirus and its symptoms have affected our health and lives to a large extent. For some, the symptoms have been mild and manageable at home, such as fever, dry cough, tiredness, sore throat, loss of smell or taste, headache, and diarrhoea.
However, for others they have been severe, such as difficulty in breathing, chest pain, loss of smell or speech and needed immediate hospitalization.
The unfortunate fact is that irrespective of age, anybody with co-morbidities is now at a higher risk of COVID hospitalization. But what are these co-morbidities and do they place you at risk? Let’s find out.
Are You At A Risk of COVID Hospitalization?
The findings from a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association show that a majority of adult COVID-19 hospitalizations are attributable to one of four pre-existing conditions.
These include obesity, hypertension, diabetes and heart failure, in that order. So, if you are suffering from any of the above health conditions, you need to be extra cautious.
Being overweight is a medical problem that increases your risk of other diseases and health problems. Image courtesy: iStock
Obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. If you are obese, you shouldn’t be concerned only about your outer appearance but the numerous health hazards. These could include heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers. In fact, if you are obese you may even face issues while conceiving and while giving birth.
According to the latest study, obesity gravely increases the risk for COVID associated complications and severity. Obese people are more vulnerable and at risk of encountering the infamous COVID cytokine storm, which makes the body’s immune system turn on itself. Cytokine storm (CS) is a critical life-threatening condition requiring intensive care admission and having quite high mortality.
If you are obese, here are some of the challenges which you may face that could also hinder recovery.
- Persons with obesity who become ill and require intensive care as it is more difficult to intubate patients with obesity
- It can be more challenging to obtain diagnostic imaging (as there are weight limits on imaging machines)
- Obese patients are more difficult to position and transport by nursing staff and, like pregnant patients in ICUs
- According to a study, the general health system is not well set up to manage patients with obesity. For instance, special beds and positioning/transport equipment are available in specialised surgery units, but may not be widely available elsewhere in hospitals and certainly not in all countries.
Tips to prevent and control obesity:
- Exercise daily
- Eat more servings of vegetables and fruits
- Consume less “bad” fat and more “good” fat
- Have less processed and sugary foods
- Involve your family in this journey
- Your BMI (Body mass index) which is a value derived from the mass and height of a person should be normal.
- Do not skip meals. Eat three balanced meals
- About 15 percent of one’s total calories come from visible fats. Invisible sources include fatty meat, butter, ghee, cheese, lard, cream. It’s best to limit their use.
Hypertension, or unregulated blood pressure levels is another bad comorbidity for COVID-19.
If you have high blood pressure, it’s a good idea to take extra care to protect yourself during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Early research shows that people with the condition may be more likely to catch coronavirus, have worse symptoms, and/or succumb to the infection. If your symptoms are severe, then you may need medication.
However, there are some small changes that you can make in your daily routine to control high blood pressure.
Tips to control hypertension:
- Stop smoking
- Cut caffeine intake
- Reduce alcohol intake
- Reduce sodium in your diet
- Exercise daily
- Reduce few inches and control your weight
Initial reports from COVID-19 hot spots, including Wuhan, Lombardy, and New York City, identified higher rates of hypertension among severely ill, hospitalized COVID-19 patients. A large US study of 5,700 hospitalized patients revealed an overall hypertension rate of 56%, similar to hypertension rates reported from China and Italy (50% and 49%, respectively).
Workout daily if you want to control diabetes. | Image courtesy: iStock
Diabetes is one of the biggest co-morbidity attached to high COVID-19 risk. Several studies highlight that if you are suffering from diabetes, you stand at a higher risk of developing stranger COVID-19 symptoms, such as COVID toes, skin inflammation.
In fact, uncontrolled diabetes can put you at severely high risk for COVID hospitalization and scale up mortality risk as well.
Tips to control diabetes:
- Exercise can make things better. Try moving your body for just 30 minutes a day to give your joints and muscles some movement and relaxation.
- Find ways to distress yourself as it can hinder your way of managing diabetes
- Make healthier food choices and avoid dieting at all
- Don’t miss your regular checkups as this will help you monitor your readings
- Eat plenty of fiber and include foods such as a banana, peas, nuts and seeds, cereals, melons and oranges in your diet
- Lose extra weight by hitting the gym (while masking) or going out for a run
4. Heart failure
One of the most profoundly impacted organs (thanks to COVID-19) is the heart. The prevalence of pre-existing cardiovascular diseases in patients with COVID-19 is high and this dreadful combination dictates poor prognosis along with the higher risk of intensive care mortality. If you are suffering from heart disease, you certainly need to be careful, even if it is a mild issue.
Doctors even agree that COVID-19 threatens a lot of risk for those impacted by cardiovascular and heart problems. From decreased heart function, inflammation (also referred to as myocarditis), pain, shortness of breath, postural drop blood pressure and other related problems, heart patients, and the ones who have had surgery in the past must safeguard their health in the best possible manner to prevent.
A happy heart is all we need to stay alive and healthy. Isn’t it? But, this is also one of the most neglected organs.
Tips to take care of your heart:
Cutting down on junk food is extremely important to give your heart healthy and alive (photo courtesy: unsplash)
- Eat a heart-healthy diet with less oil and more green vegetables and cooked meat
- Get your blood pressure and blood sugar checked regularly
- Lose weight by indulging in any of your favourite physical activities, daily
- Stop smoking immediately
- Reduce the intake of alcohol
Can You Control The Risk Factors?
If you are ignoring your health so far, don’t do it any longer. Start today. Researchers have pointed that metabolic health can be improved within six to eight weeks with changes in the quality of diet alone, even if this is not accompanied by weight loss. Therefore, it is very important to make small changes in your lifestyle daily which could help reduce the severity of the COVID-19 infections.
You may think that coronavirus cases are in control in Singapore, so “I can take it easy.” No! You should never let your guard down. The second wave of coronavirus infections is spreading rapidly in several countries and many community cases have now been spotted in the little red dot too.
The prediction says that cases may continue to rise if proper safety precautions are not followed by the public. So every time you step out of your home, wear your mask and yes get vaccinated.
News Source: Health management
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