Among COVID-19 survivors, risk of hospital admission after the acute phase of the disease was 30% higher in patients with obesity
A Cleveland Clinic study shows that survivors of COVID-19 who have moderate or severe obesity may have a greater risk of experiencing long-term consequences of the disease, compared with patients who do not have obesity. The study was recently published online in the journal of Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.
Multiple studies have identified obesity as a risk factor for developing a severe form of COVID-19 that may require hospital admission, intensive care, and ventilator support in the early phase of the disease. Obesity, which is a complex disease caused by multiple factors, is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, blood clots and lung conditions. In addition, obesity weakens the immune system and creates a chronic inflammatory state. Those conditions can lead to poor outcomes after an infection with SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19.
The study found that a health condition called post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC) is an extremely common problem in COVID-19 survivors. Specifically, during a 10-month follow-up after the acute phase of COVID-19, 44% of the study participants had required hospital admission and 1% died. Furthermore, results show that compared with patients with normal BMI, the risk of hospital admission was 28% and 30% higher in patients with moderate and severe obesity, respectively. The need for diagnostic tests to assess different medical problems, compared with patients with normal BMI, was 25% and 39% higher in patients with moderate and severe obesity, respectively.
More specifically, the need for diagnostic tests to assess cardiac, pulmonary, vascular, renal, gastrointestinal, and mental health problems was significantly higher in patients with a BMI of 35 or greater, compared with normal BMI patients.
Future studies are planned to confirm findings of this study that obesity is a major risk factor for the development of PASC and determine the long-term and rigorous follow-up that patients with obesity need after a SARS-CoV-2 infection.
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