The COVID-19 pandemic still exists as a grim reality. Despite a year and more of following precautions, the deadly virus and its variants have shaken the common people as well as the medical world to extremes. Similar is the case with obese people who are at a higher risk of developing complications if contracted with the COVID 19 virus. The coexistence of heart disease and diabetes can increase the complication risk multiple times.
Obesity is a condition of chronic inflammation. They are likely to have ailing organs with restricted functioning and suffer from a host of metabolic diseases. Their lungs do not work at full capacity while blood circulation is restricted due to blockages. Most doctors feel that the presence of extra fat and tissue in obese patients can also lead to further complications and deterioration of the patient’s health. The existence of comorbidities such as cardiac issues, sleep apnea, and asthma makes matters even worse.
If at all, they get affected by a coronavirus, they will experience a tough time as their already weakened lungs and poor blood circulation are likely to slow down their recovery. Also, improper functioning of the lungs is likely to slow down the speed of recovery.
Let us understand what happens to how the coronavirus works its way into the human cells and causes damage.
Beginning with ACE2 “receptor” or the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 which is a protein that empowers the virus to infect human cells. These ACE2 receptors are present across major organs and pathways of the body such as the heart, lungs, blood vessels, kidney, liver, epithelial cells, and even the gastrointestinal tract.
The main function of ACE2 is to regulate blood pressure, inflammation, and wound healing processes which are hampered once it comes in contact with the coronavirus. Once the coronavirus meets the ACE2, it gets hooked on to it and multiplies at an even faster rate to hamper its functioning. The onset of a hampered healing process causes additional burden to the lungs and the heart leading to further complications.
The other factor to bear in mind is that it is risky for obese people to use ventilators considering their excess tissue and body fact. Also, seeking accurate results through diagnostic imaging is yet another challenging task which increases the treatment risk to a great extent.
It is essential to get the COVID 19 vaccination to build up immunity and protect oneself from coronavirus attacks. It is only after a couple of weeks of taking the vaccination that the body produces adequate cells to combat the virus attack and neutralize its damage to whatever extent possible.
Along with the age-wise eligibility of 45 – 59 years, it would have been ideal to include obesity in the list of comorbidities for those seeking the COVID 19 vaccination. Obese people with a BMI of more than 37.5 in the age group of 45 – 59 years should be receiving vaccination on a priority basis as with those suffering from diabetes or cardiac issues. Also, we need to remember that not all obese people are diabetic or have cardiac or related issues, they are just morbidly obese.
The situation is indeed scary and complex but it is in the hands of every obese individual to stay as safe and healthy as possible. Beginning with self-care and control, every obese individual should focus on oneself and take measures in the right direction.
Good health is the priority of every individual so maintain social distancing and stay safe as much as possible!