Coronavirus: While the novel coronavirus is a respiratory illness that spares no one, the risk of contracting the infection may vary from person to person. As per a recent study, a range of new risk factors linked to an increased risk of COVID-19 infections has come to the surface, which can now determine who is more susceptible to the deadly virus.
According to a recent study published in the journal PLoS ONE, those with Type II diabetes and a high body mass index (BMI) are at a greater risk of experiencing severe complications related to Covid-19.
The study, conducted by the researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, looked into data from the UK Biobank of 500,000 British volunteers over age 40. After examining the health conditions of the people who had tested positive for the virus, the researchers compared them to the health factors of those who had tested negative.
They found that people who had tested positive for COVID-19 were more likely to be obese or were suffering from Type II diabetes. On the contrary, individuals who have tested negative had high levels of good HDL cholesterol and ideal weight.
According to Charles Hong, MD, Ph.D., professor of medicine and director of cardiology research at the University of Medicine School of Medicine and the author of the study, “Certain baseline cardiometabolic factors appear to either protect a person from Covid-19 infection while others make a person more vulnerable to infection.”
“But this study wasn’t designed to determine what factors actually cause Covid-19 infections. These are statistical associations that point to the importance of a healthy functioning immune system for protecting against Covid-19 infection,” he added.
What to do?
The research also highlighted certain measures that people can take to reduce their chances of developing severe COVID-19 infections.
Dr. Hong said, “Our findings point to some healthy measures people can take to help potentially lower their risk of Covid-19 infection.”
“Controlling body weight is very important during this time, and measures to increase HDL levels like regular exercise and a diet rich in monounsaturated fats like extra virgin olive oil and avocados might be helpful too,” he noted.