You may have heard that people with certain underlying medical conditions have an increased risk for catching COVID and/or having a more severe case. If you’re not sure if you’re at a higher risk, read on for more information about which risk factors are associated with COVID-19.
Why Are There Risks?
The COVID-19 infection can sometimes be quite severe in even ordinarily healthy people, but for those with additional health issues, the complications can become worse. One of the primary reasons for this is because many problems can affect the body’s ability to fight off infection. A weakened immune system can lead to longer or more severe reactions as the body attempts to fight the virus.
What Are The Risks?
- Chronic Diseases. Chronic medical conditions often result in an immune system that is too preoccupied to fight off foreign invaders. These chronic diseases can include kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic heart problems, etc.
- Obesity. Being very overweight adds extra stress to internal organs, especially the lungs. If the lungs are already over-taxed, they’ll be more susceptible to a viral infection like COVID.
- Smoking. Smoking weakens the lung tissue and makes it more difficult to breathe and absorb oxygen properly. As a respiratory disease, COVID-19 reduces the body’s ability to circulate oxygen as well. Smokers who catch the virus often experience severe breathing complications.
- Type 2 Diabetes. People with diabetes are more likely to have several other risks that could complicate COVID, like hypertension, cerebrovascular disease, chronic pulmonary disease, and cardiovascular disease, all of which impede the body’s response to the viral infection.
- Other factors include cancer, heart conditions, pregnancy, and sickle cell disease.
As more research is done, there are indications that patients with the following issues might be at increased risk for a more serious illness: asthma, cystic fibrosis, liver disease, hypertension, type 1 diabetes, blood disorders, pulmonary fibrosis, and more.
Taking Extra Precautions
It is important to remember that these risk factors don’t make you more vulnerable to catching the virus, but they can make the ordeal much more dangerous. To get COVID-19, you have to be exposed to it, so taking extra precautions is vital in preventing an unnecessarily difficult situation for you and your family.
If you have any of the above risk factors, take care to protect yourself. Stay home as much as possible and ensure a six-foot distance if you do have to go out. Always wear a mask when around others and encourage members of your household to do the same.
Being at extra risk for severe complications if you catch COVID-19 can be scary, but a call to your nearby urgent care center will help. Get in touch if you think you might be high risk or if you’d like a COVID-19 test.