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List of Pre-Existing Conditions Putting You At Risk of Dying From COVID-19 Grows

Timothy Boyer Ph.D.'s picture
More pre-existing conditions are COVID-19 risk factors for dying.

A systematic review and meta-analysis examining 11 co-existing conditions that pose a risk of death among COVID-19 patients provides some surprising numbers and risk factors as to who is more likely to die from COVID-19.

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COVID-19 Risk Factors

According to a new study that analyzed data from more than 65,000 patients from 25 studies worldwide, researchers from Penn State College of Medicine report that the number of risk factors is larger than what previous studies have reported.

Information about risk factors associated with an increased risk of dying from COVID-19, typically associate it with patients who have died possessing three of the five risk factors of metabolic syndrome: obesity, diabetes and pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels and excess abdominal fat.

These earlier studies found that:

1. Patients with metabolic syndrome were nearly five times more likely to be admitted to an ICU, need a ventilator, or develop ARDS.

2. Patients with metabolic syndrome were 3.4 times more likely to die from COVID-19 compared to patients who did not have metabolic syndrome.

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Additional Risk Factors Identified

Today however, in a new international study of COVID-19 patients that is said to be the most comprehensive yet, scientists confirm that other conditions such as cardiovascular disease, congestive heart failure, chronic kidney disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, chronic liver disease, HIV/AIDS and cancer can also increase a patient’s risk of dying from the virus.

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According to the news release from Penn State, the researchers found that cardiovascular disease may double a patient’s risk of dying from COVID-19, while other pre-existing conditions may increase a COVID-19 patient’s risk of death by one-and-a-half to three times.

“This study suggests that these chronic conditions are not just common in patients with COVID-19, but their presence is a warning sign to a higher risk of death,” said Dr. Paddy Ssentongo, a doctoral student in epidemiology at the College of Medicine and research assistant professor in Penn State's Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics.

“There is a high prevalence of cardiovascular disease and hypertension around the world and in particular, the U.S. With the persistence of COVID-19 in the U.S., this connection becomes crucially important.”

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Likelihood of Dying With These Pre-existing Conditions

More specifically, the researchers reported that when compared to hospitalized COVID-19 patients without pre-existing conditions, researchers determined that:

• Patients with diabetes and cancer are 1.5 times more likely to die from COVID-19.

• Patients with cardiovascular disease, hypertension and congestive heart failure are twice as likely to die from COVID-19.

• Patients with chronic kidney disease are three times more likely to die from COVID-19.

“Although the health care community has circulated anecdotal information about the impact of these risk factors in COVID-19 mortality, our systematic review and meta-analysis is the most comprehensive to date that attempts to quantify the risk,” said Vernon Chinchilli, distinguished professor and chair of public health sciences, and senior author of this research.

The significance of their findings is that the added knowledge can help scientists and doctors create future global prevention and treatment strategies.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues through 2020 and likely into 2021, we expect that other researchers will build on our work,” stated Professor Chinchilli.

“We took an all-inclusive, global approach for this study by examining 11 chronic conditions and including patients from four continents: Asia, Europe, North America and Africa,” Dr. Ssentongo adds. “Research suggests that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, may become seasonal and require annual vaccination. Once an approved and effective vaccine is available, high-risk individuals with these pre-existing conditions should receive vaccination priority to prevent high mortality rates.”

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Timothy Boyer has a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona. For 20+ years he has been employed as a freelance health and science writer. Today, with an eye on the latest news, Timothy continues writing about science with a focus on what you need to know for healthier living. For continual updates about health, you can also follow Timothy on Twitter at TimBoyerWrites.

Image Source: Courtesy of Chiplanay from Pixabay

References:

Certain pre-existing conditions can double, triple mortality risk for COVID-19 patients” Penn State Health News, 8 Oct. 2020.

Association of cardiovascular disease and 10 other pre-existing comorbidities with COVID-19 mortality: A systematic review and meta-analysis” Paddy SSentongo et al, PLOS ONE Published: August 26, 2020.

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