Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has transformed from a blip on the news mere weeks ago into a full-blown global pandemic today. As a serious threat to our health and wellness, the virus has brought our normal ways of conducting business and day-to-day life to an abrupt halt. This is especially true for those who are most vulnerable to the illness and the serious (or even deadly) complications it can cause.
Most Common Risk Factors for Coronavirus
While age has gotten the bulk of the attention as a risk factor for more severe cases of COVID-19, there are actually a number of underlying health conditions which can also affect a person’s risk. Here are some of the most common.
- Chronic Asthma or Lung Disease – Because coronavirus is a respiratory illness causing symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath, those with pre-existing lung disease or severe cases of asthma are at exceptional risk. With already weakened respiratory systems, these patients are unable to fight off the most distressing complications of the virus, including the possible development of pneumonia, as most others would.
- Severe Heart Conditions – Suffering from heart disease or any form of severe heart condition means having a lower functioning cardiovascular and immune system. Patients who suffer from heart ailments are more vulnerable than the general population when it comes to more severe coronavirus symptoms and possible complications.
- Diabetes – Studies of coronavirus patients so far show that diabetes that is not well managed or that exists in conjunction with other forms of chronic illness can increase risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms. Diabetes that is well managed and does not accompany other diseases presents a far lower risk.
- Liver and Kidney Disease – Those who suffer from chronic liver or kidney disease have also been shown to be more susceptible to coronavirus. This is particularly true of patients who are currently undergoing dialysis treatments or who have in the past.
In addition to these risk factors, others known to influence the severity of COVID-19 include obesity, smoking, and being immunocompromised due to factors such as cancer treatments, organ transplants, poorly managed HIV or AIDS, or prolonged use of immune-compromising drugs such as corticosteroids.
If any of the above risk factors pertain to you, it is important that you be particularly vigilant during this time, practicing social distancing and frequent handwashing. It is also important that you seek medical help as soon as possible should you come into contact with coronavirus or begin to exhibit symptoms. You can get started by calling Lane Family Practice at (225) 654-3607.