The covid-19 pandemic has been hitting the world hard for two years now. Especially those with weakened immune systems and significant risk factors are more likely to get contract it. As information about covid-19 emerges with ongoing research, we get to know more about the potential risk factors that can help the virus spread.
Weight issues are becoming a global problem. And with that said, obesity is a major culprit responsible for the majority of cardiovascular illnesses. But does it have anything to do with covid-19 spread or prognosis? Read this article to find out.
What is Obesity?
The term obesity refers to an abnormal accumulation of fat in the body that poses health risks and results in various health problems. Obesity is typically measured using body mass index (BMI). A person’s BMI is calculated by dividing their kilograms by the height in square meters. Any number over 30 is officially obese.
Several factors can make a person obese. Overeating, sugary and fatty foods are common causes of obesity, but other underlying problems can cause a person to become obese.
Their genetics heavily influences a person’s physical condition. Those with family members predisposed to obesity can follow their genetic path. Some chronic diseases can also lead to obesity, particularly an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).
Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid does not make enough specific hormones to regulate the body. This includes how the body gains and loses weight. In addition to gaining weight, symptoms of hypothyroidism include feeling particularly tired and lacking in energy, which makes it difficult to feel the urge to exercise. Hypothyroidism can also lead to depression, which can trigger emotional overeating.
How does obesity contribute to COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a global health crisis that affects hundreds of thousands of people. You’ve probably heard that the virus affects the elderly and people with immunocompromised systems. However, having covid-19 can have severe effects and even lead to a greater risk of hospitalization in people with obesity, as indicated by data from CDC.
It is not yet entirely clear why obese people get the covid-19 virus more often than non-obese people. However, there are a few theories that support statistics.
One approach is the fact that obese people have more difficulty breathing: “Obesity has a detrimental effect on lung function and reduces forced exhalation and vital capacity.”
The prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea in overweight people, associated with decreased lung function and increased pneumonia, also affects the lungs. With coronavirus affecting the lungs, it makes sense that anyone with breathing difficulties could have difficulty managing the disease.
Another line of thought is that the molecular properties present in adipose tissue are more likely to hold the virus on longer than other diseases. Thus making it more difficult to fight the virus back.
Some studies also point out the immune system’s lack of response to the virus because it is too busy attacking the excess fatty tissue in the body.
“Obesity is characterized as chronic subclinical inflammation, a pathological entity that stimulates the immune response to infectious diseases through direct, can influence indirect and epigenetic mechanisms.”
How to stay healthy during an ongoing pandemic?
If you are overweight, you need to take extra precautions to reduce the chances of contracting the virus. Above all, practice social distancing and wear a face covering. Only go outside when necessary to limit your exposure as best as possible. Only do this if you wear a mask and stand at least 2 meters away from other people. You also need to be vigilant when washing your hands and avoid touching your face.
If you have other health issues, make sure they are under control. For example, people who are obese suffer from health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease. Make sure you take your medication and keep track of all the therapies you need. Try to stay healthy by making some simple lifestyle changes, like a balanced and healthy diet, following a fitness regime, and staying hydrated.
Covid-19 is not friends with anyone, but it’s especially tough on overweight people and can show make their recovery difficult. If you have an ongoing illness due to obesity, it is imperative to follow your doctor’s advice for the best chance of staying healthy.
Ways to deal with obesity
Aside from the complications resulting from covid-19, living with obesity can be a tremendous strain on your overall health. Therefore, weight management for obese individuals requires following their doctor’s advice. You can also take advantage of many weight loss programs.
These programs help users manage their weight and health effects by providing digital coaching, health-related goal setting, and tracking of physical activity, diet, and mental wellbeing. In addition, they also make health understandable and measurable with different scoring systems. These scoring system change in real-time as a person’s health develops.
Healthy lifestyle changes can help control obesity. More research is being done on the effects of covid-19 in obese. But we know for a fact that obesity can greatly hinder one’s chances to recover from covid-19 and can lead to serious complications. Therefore, the key to preventing many serious illnesses is to maintain a healthy weight. If you or someone you know seem to be showing symptoms of COVID-19, please follow local guidelines to report and contact your healthcare provider.