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Health and Fitness News

Extra COVID Precautions

People with these risk factors for severe COVID-19 need to take extra precautions to avoid infection.

There are an estimated 8 million confirmed cases of the new coronavirus around the world and more than 400,000 people have died. Anyone at any age or health condition can be affected by COVID-19, though the data clearly shows that certain populations are at a greater risk for developing a severe case of the virus. Age, sex, and medical conditions are known to increase your risk of needing hospitalization or intensive care.

Assessing your risk is important so you can take extra safety measures to avoid exposure to the virus, manage your condition, and know how your health may be affected by an infection.

Do you have one of the most common risk factors?

Diabetes

Type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes all put you at risk for a severe COVID-19 infection. Uncontrolled high blood sugar levels also lead to health problems that make it more difficult for your body to recover from a virus of any sort. And since diabetes weakens your immune system and increases unwanted inflammation in the body, it’s easier for viruses to take up residence. Therefore, diabetics should take the proper measures to manage their blood sugar levels, which includes using appropriate medication, eating a healthy diet, and making lifestyle changes if needed.

Lung Problems

Since COVID-19 often targets your respiratory system, people with lung conditions like asthma, lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are at a higher risk for severe symptoms. Even though your medications may weaken your immune system, don’t stop taking them. It’s important to manage your symptoms and avoid triggers that worsen your symptoms.

Immunocompromised

A weak immune system increases your chances of a severe infection of any kind. If you’re undergoing cancer treatment, have recently had an organ or bone marrow transplant, are being treated with dialysis, smoke, have HIV, or have a history of long-term corticosteroid drugs use, then your immune system may not be equipped to effectively fight off a viral infection. Talk with your physician about ways to boost your immune system to protect yourself against COVID.

Obesity

A body mass index of 40 or more puts you at a greater risk for severe COVID-19. This is because obesity increases your likelihood of developing acute respiratory distress syndrome and healthcare personnel have a harder time providing respiratory care. Someone who’s obese is also likely to have underlying health conditions that exascerbate COVID-19 symptoms.

65 and Older

The vast majority of people who die from COVID-19 are 65 or older. As you age, your immune system weakens, you’re more likely to have other chronic health problems, your lungs are weaker, and you have higher levels of inflammation. Though you can’t stop your body from aging, a healthy lifestyle goes a long way toward slowing the aging process and protecting against infection.

Liver Disease

A serious infection from COVID-19 is more likely if you have chronic liver disease or cirrhosis. Liver problems weaken the immune system, but the greater risk comes from the medications that are often used to treat the virus. Current medications for COVID-19 may further harm an already diseased liver.

Heart Conditions

When a virus like COVID-19 damages your respiratory system, it makes your heart work harder to pump oxygenated blood to the body. As a result, COVID-19 frequently causes symptoms to worsen of heart conditions such as coronary artery disease, heart failure, heart disease, pulmonary hypertension, and cardiomyopathies.

Hemoglobin Disorders

Sickle cell disease and thalassemia are hemoglobin disorders that increase your risk of a severe COVID-19 infection. These blood disorders can cause serious complications throughout the body due to the virus.

Male

The coronavirus seems to hit men harder than women. In fact, men may be more than twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than women. And not just all men, but bald men in particular. Bald men are more likely to die from COVID-19 than men with a full head of hair.