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Why Now It Is More Important Than Ever To Lose Weight This Year

Timothy Boyer Ph.D.'s picture
Having metabolic syndrome increases the likelihood of dying from COVID-19

A new study emphasizes the importance of why that now it is more important than ever to lose weight when your doctor says you have metabolic syndrome, because the risks of dying from COVID-19 are much higher when you have a combination of these three medical conditions.


Latest Metabolic Syndrome Warning

A new study published in the journal Diabetes Care reports that patients hospitalized with COVID-19 who meet the criteria of having metabolic syndrome are over three times more likely to die from the disease.

Metabolic syndrome is a combination of five medical conditions that increases your risk of suffering from heart disease, developing Type 2 diabetes and having a stroke. The conditions include hypertension, high blood sugar levels, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, and excess abdominal fat. Up to one-third of all adults in the U.S. are currently estimated to have metabolic syndrome.

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The effects on health from metabolic syndrome have been the primary reason health experts for years have recommended losing weight as a way to avoid or recover from the syndrome. However, a new study adds on another reason for being or becoming metabolic syndrome-free.

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This study was the first to analyze the impact COVID-19 has on metabolic syndrome, and discovered that patients with any three of the five conditions associated with metabolic syndrome are three times more likely to die from the corona virus.

According to news from the University of Tulane:

“Together, obesity, diabetes and pre-diabetes, high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels are all predictive of higher incidents of death in these patients. The more of these diagnoses that you have, the worse the outcomes,” said the study's principal investigator Dr. Joshua Denson, assistant professor of medicine and pulmonary and critical care medicine physician at Tulane University School of Medicine. “The underlying inflammation that is seen with metabolic syndrome may be the driver that is leading to these more severe cases.”

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The COVID-19 / Metabolic Syndrome Study

The study involved 287 COVID-19 patients—both with and without metabolic syndrome—who were hospitalized during the peak of the pandemic in New Orleans from March 30 to April 5. Over 85% of the patients were Black, had an average age of 61 years, with approximately 57% of the patients being female. The three most common conditions they shared was high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.

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Patient data was divided into two categories—those with metabolic syndrome and those without. Data analyzed from the two-group comparison included:

• Whether or not the patient was admitted to an ICU.
• Whether or not the patient was placed on a ventilator.
• Whether or not the patient developed ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome).
• Whether or not the patient died from COVID-19.

What the researchers found from the data after accounting for cofounders that could affect the numbers was that:

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

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

The researchers concluded that,”…In predominantly black patients hospitalized for COVID-19, the clustering of hypertension, obesity, and diabetes as MetS [metabolic syndrome] increased the odds of mortality compared with these comorbidities individually.

In other words, having the three conditions of high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity together resulted in a higher likelihood of dying from COVID-19 than when having any one or two of the aforementioned metabolic syndrome-related conditions. However, the study also determined that having diabetes or just being obese, increased the odds that a patient diagnosed with COVID-19 would be admitted into the ICU and placed on a ventilator.

“Metabolic syndrome should be considered a composite predictor of COVID-19 lethal outcome, increasing the odds of mortality by the combined effects of its individual components,” Denson said, recommending that people with metabolic syndrome need to be especially vigilant toward reducing their risk to being exposed to others and contracting the coronavirus.

Metabolic Syndrome—Small Lifestyle Changes, Big Results

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: Photo by Javier Matheu on Unsplash


Metabolic syndrome linked to worse outcomes for COVID-19 patients” Tulane University’s Tulane News 25 August 2020.

Metabolic Syndrome and COVID-19 Mortality Among Adult Black Patients in New Orleans” John Xie, et al; Diabetes Care August 2020.