COVID-19 Risk Factors
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a brand-new illness. Numerous studies are underway around the globe, but scientists still have much to learn about its risk factors and other characteristics. Currently, researchers believe that some people are more susceptible to developing COVID-19 complications—such as difficulty breathing—than others. At-risk individuals include adults 65 and older and people who have an underlying health condition, such as lung disease, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes. Here are some possible reasons for the elevated risk level:
The Effects of Advanced Age
As compared to their younger counterparts, older adults are more likely to develop COVID-19 complications for three main reasons. First, the body’s immune system naturally weakens over time. As a result, it becomes less effective at fighting off harmful invaders, such as COVID-19 and other viruses. In addition to a weakened immune system, many older adults have a chronic health condition that further undermines their body’s ability to cope with and recover from illness. Finally, lung function gradually declines with age, not only making it more difficult to breathe but also intensifying the harmful effects of respiratory conditions such as COVID-19.
The Effects of Lung Disease
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that primarily affects the lungs. Other respiratory conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can cause lung damage, inflammation, and scarring, all of which can cause breathing difficulties and set the stage for more severe COVID-19 symptoms.
The Effects of Cardiovascular Disease
While COVID-19 mainly affects the lungs, it can cause heart-related problems as well. The heart plays a vital role in delivering essential oxygen and nutrients to organs and tissues throughout the body. A COVID-19 infection can overburden the lungs, which in turn can force the heart to work harder. This can increase the risk of heart attack, especially in an individual who has cardiovascular disease.
The Effects of Diabetes
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes increase the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood. High blood glucose can create an environment in which viruses such as COVID-19 can flourish. Also, diabetes can cause inflammation throughout the body and weaken the immune system, both of which can hinder the body’s ability to fight off COVID-19 and other diseases.
Take Proper Precautions to Protect Yourself
While some people have a higher risk of developing COVID-19 complications than others, anyone can be affected, including young adults and children who have no known risk factors. Therefore, regardless of your age and overall health, it is essential to take steps to protect yourself and others from contracting and spreading COVID-19. This includes staying at home as much as possible, washing your hands often, practicing social distancing, and wearing a cloth face mask in public places.
If you aren’t feeling well, you can visit a MedRite Urgent Care walk-in clinic with complete confidence. We are doing everything possible to protect our patients and staff from COVID-19, including sterilizing our facilities throughout the day. And, if you would prefer to stay at home, you are welcome to register for a virtual visit with one of our experienced providers.