At Mexicali Bariatric Center, we want to help you understand why it is important to lose weight if your BMI is higher than 30 because of complications related to acquiring coronavirus.
At this point, there is little research on obesity and COVID-19, but the CDC lists obesity as a risk factor for complications of the virus.
We are just at the beginning of the pandemic. You may know this already, but what a pandemic means is that this virus will continue to look for a host until it cannot find anymore. We will either get it or find a vaccine for it. One of these things will happen first. Being healthy increases your chance of not developing complications related to coronavirus, including death.
If you are obese your risk of developing diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes is high.
A study from the UK found that people with a body mass index higher than 30 have a 33% greater risk of dying from the virus than those who are not obese.
Another study from the UK also says that nearly 34.5% of critically ill Covid-19 patients were overweight (BMI 25-29) 31.5% were obese, and 7% morbidly obese.
In short, obesity is a risk factor of becoming seriously ill from Covid-19.
Some specialists consider that the demand for oxygen in people who are overweight is higher because the less fit you are, the lower your lung capacity is and coronavirus affects the respiratory system. This makes it more likely for obese people to require breathing support when in intensive care.
There is one consideration about how the virus enters the body, and this is through an enzyme present in cells called ACE2. This molecule is more concentrated in adipose or fatty tissue. Obese people have more of this under the skin and around organs; this explains why being obese increases your risk of catching the disease.
Other factors that increase that risk are aging, being a man, and underlying health issues.
We will continue updating this information as researchers get more findings.
Here is a link to find out what your BMI is.