Saturday, December 10, 2022

Common health issues raise risk for severe COVID-19

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Common conditions that put people at risk for serious illnesses like diabetes, heart attack and stroke also put them at risk for critical illness and death from COVID-19, researchers have found.

When the conditions – high blood sugar, high blood pressure, obesity, and high cholesterol – occur together, they are collectively known as metabolic syndrome.

Using data on hospitalized COVID-19 patients in 26 countries, researchers compared 5,069 adults with at least three of the conditions and 23,917 without metabolic syndrome.

Those with metabolic syndrome had significantly increased odds of a potentially fatal lung condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and death, the researchers reported on Wednesday in JAMA Network Open.

“With each metabolic syndrome criterion added from 1 to 4 criteria, the risk of ARDS significantly increased,” regardless of age, sex, race, ethnicity, and other illnesses, researchers said.

“If you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, mild obesity and pre-diabetes or diabetes and are hospitalized with COVID-19, you have a one-in-four chance of developing ARDS, which is significant,” study leader Dr. Joshua Denson of Tulane University School of Medicine said in a statement.

Metabolic syndrome was significantly more common among patients in U.S. hospitals (18.8%) than in other countries (8%), leading the researchers to suggest that one reason the United States leads the world in COVID-19 deaths could be its high rates of metabolic syndrome, obesity and diabetes.

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