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Obesity is a Major Risk Factor in Severe COVID-19 Cases

Obesity is a Major Risk Factor in Severe COVID-19 Cases

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  • Obesity is a risk factor for COVID-19
  • Obesity is linked to several health diseases and eliminating obesity can have major health benefits
  • Exercise, diet and surgical options are weight loss options in obese people

Obesity is a risk factor for severe COVID-19 cases. As more than 40% of Americans are considered obese, it is a major concern.

Obesity, diabetes, and hypertension are considered to be risk factors for COVID-19. Patients who have one of these three co-morbidities may have poorer outcomes or more intense hospitalizations.

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Obesity is a Major Risk Factor in Severe COVID-19 Cases

Obesity results when a person has a high level of fat in the body.

Obesity can be determined by measuring a person's body mass index (BMI). BMI is calculated from the height and weight of a person.

  • A BMI of 30 or higher indicates obesity
  • A BMI of 40 or higher indicates extreme obesity
A BMI of 40, typically means that the person is about 100 pounds over their ideal body weight. They can be a candidate for weight loss surgery.

Health Risks Associated with Obesity

Diseases that result from obesity are more concerning than obesity.

Health risks associated with obesity according to the US National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Diseases are:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Sleep apnea
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gallbladder disease
All these diseases are linked to obesity. If obesity is eliminated, these conditions could go away.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends losing around 5-10% of the bodyweight as it can greatly benefit a person's health. It will improve a person's blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars.

Weight Loss Options

A mixture of healthy diet and exercise is always recommended for weight loss and management.

Surgical options for weight loss are also available. When a person has weight loss surgery, it is a commitment.

The doctor will help the person in choosing the right procedure for himself. A dietician will help modify the person's diet and suggest exercises and support groups help the person in his weight loss journey.

The different surgical weight loss options include:

  • Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy- It is the most common procedure performed. The surgery divides and removes a portion of the stomach that contains hormones that provide feelings of hunger. A very narrow, long column is created, which allows the person to feel full while eating less food.
    Patients do not experience malabsorption of nutrients or severe vitamin deficiencies. Patients can lose 60-70% of excess body fat in the first year after surgery if they strictly follow the diet, exercise, and support groups.
  • Laparoscopic adjustable gastric band-An adjustable band or collar is placed around the upper portion of the stomach. The collar acts as a funnel when food is digested, allowing food to trickle down slowly.
    The funnel opening becomes a little bigger as weight loss occurs, allowing food to travel faster. This slows weight loss without any vitamin deficiencies. A bariatric surgeon can tighten the band, usually in the first year, about every six weeks.
  • Roux-en-Y gastric bypass- This is a major surgery, where the size of the stomach is decreased. A digestive route is created between the stomach and the small intestine.
    A person loses weight through a combination of malabsorption of nutrients and a smaller stomach. A person can develop vitamin deficiencies. There are also possibilities of complications and side effects.
Anyone can be affected by obesity. There are options and hope for people with obesity.

"One of the most rewarding things for me as a bariatric surgeon is to see how weight loss surgery changes lives and has many commenting,'I wish I had done it sooner, '" said Dr. Karl Strom, medical director of the Center for Advanced Bariatric Surgery at Mountainside Medical Center.

Source: Medindia

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