COVID-19 is hitting some patients with obesity particularly hard

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 - 09:06 in Health & Medicine

As part of the COVID-19 response team at O’Connor Hospital in San Jose, Calif., Nivedita Lakhera wasn’t prepared to see her intensive care unit filled with so many young patients. Many of those patients had no medical condition other than obesity. “They are young and coming to the ER and just dropping dead,” she says. Age, particularly those over 65, as well as having a compromised immune system are still major risk factors for being hospitalized with, and dying from, COVID-19. But some doctors say that some of their sickest patients are those under 60 who are obese. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of high-risk individuals includes the severely obese, defined as people with a body mass index, or BMI, over 40. While studies on coronavirus often focus on demographic breakdowns such as age, sex and race (SN: 4/10/20), some now are starting to track COVID-19 patient BMIs.   For instance, of 180 patients hospitalized from March 1 to March 30, the most...

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