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The Second Biggest Risk Factor After Age That Makes You Susceptible To Coronavirus

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Obesity Is The Second Biggest Risk Factor After Age That Makes You Susceptible To Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As the world continues to rush to find treatment and a vaccine for coronavirus, we're learning more and more about COVID-19 every day and now, we have yet another piece of the puzzle.

So far, we've known that age is a huge factor in the likelihood to contract the virus — and the likelihood that someone will end up in the hospital or suffer from complications, including death, from it. But now, we know another huge factor that causes these complications.

According to scientists, obesity is the next leading cause of coronavirus cases and complications, so here's everything you need to know to be prepared. 

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Having a high BMI contributes to coronavirus complications. 


A post shared by Centers for Disease Control (@cdcgov) on Apr 12, 2020 at 1:43pm PDT

A new study that examined 4,103 patients admitted to the hospital between March 1 and April 2 who tested positive for the virus in New York City revealed that having a BMI over 30 was the biggest factor after age in whether or not a patient was admitted to the hospital with complications from the virus. 

Obesity and age combined make a huge impact on hospitalization. 

We've already known for awhile that while coronavirus can impact anyone, it's especially dangerous to older adults. And now, we know that risk factor combined with obesity can make the virus even worse. The study revealed that 87% of patients over 65 and obese were admitted to the hospital, and 70% who were obese and over 35 were also admitted — and even those who were obese and younger than 35 years old were at an increased risk of admittance, especially if they were male.

The CDC now includes those with severe obesity among the high risk groups for coronavirus. 

The CDC has updated their coronavirus guidelines to include obesity as a high risk group for contracting the virus, including those with a BMI of 40 or above.

"Severe obesity increases the risk of a serious breathing problem called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which is a major complication of COVID-19 and can cause difficulties with a doctor’s ability to provide respiratory support for seriously ill patients," says the CDC. "People living with severe obesity can have multiple serious chronic diseases and underlying health conditions that can increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19." 

This factor could lead to a higher mortality rate of COVID-19 in the US. 

Because of the high number of people with obesity in the United States, this could mean that we could see higher mortality rates in our country compared to others. With an obesity rate of over 42% in the US, that means a lot more people who live here are at a greater risk of complications and death than there are in other countries that typically have a population with lower BMIs. 

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Obesity can be very dangerous because of Its effect on the respiratory system.

The biggest reason obesity is so dangerous to people already suffering from COVID-19 is because of the strain it puts on the respiratory system. As we already know, any condition that takes a toll on our breathing, like asthma, can exacerbate symptoms of coronavirus, and obesity is no different.

Right now, we know certain underlying health conditions can cause coronavirus to be more dangerous and even deadly to certain patients.

Other than obesity and age, we know that conditons like asthma, chronic lung disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, and liver disease mean that a person would be at a higher risk, including those who are immunocompromised. It's good to have this information (even though it's scary) to remind us how important it is to stay home as much as possible while practicing good hygiene and social distancing. Hopefully, we'll have more treatment options soon but in the meantime, staying as safe as possible is what's most important.

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Nicole Pomarico is an entertainment and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in Cosmo, Us Weekly, Refinery29, and more.