Two years have passed since the life of the world’s population in an unprecedented situation for our generation – the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is clear that today we know much more about this disease, and we now have advanced vaccines to fight it. However, quarantine and general panic over the virus, fear of contracting or getting “chronic covid” leave serious consequences in terms of disruption to the physical and mental health of a person.
“All this time, nutritional science, dietetics, has also developed rapidly, providing valuable knowledge, especially at the level of prevention, against the background of the fight against SARS-CoV-2. For example, today we know that low vitamin D levels are associated with an increased likelihood of illness, increased severity of symptoms, and an increased likelihood of admission to the intensive care unit and of death, ”said Dr. Anastasios Papalazaru, nutritionist.
Likewise, the expert adds, the correlation has been shown in studies of vitamin C, other ingredients such as zinc and magnesium, and diet in general, which helps to strengthen our immune system. Among the strong relationships found in the studies, there is a correlation between obesity and COVID-19. ”
So, today we know that obese people are 46% more at risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2 than people of normal weight. They have:
113% more likely to be seriously ill and hospitalized; 74% higher risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit; the risk of death is increased by 48%.
Dozens of studies have shown similar results. The risk of severe COVID-19 increases dramatically with each increase in body mass index (BMI).
If obesity contributes significantly to the risk of getting sick or dying from COVID-19, how does weight loss affect it?
A large retrospective study published last week in JAMA Surgery and CNN found that significant weight loss was associated with:
Less risk of hospitalization. Less need for supplemental oxygen. Less severe symptoms of COVID-19 infection.
“The results of the study showed that obesity is a modifiable risk factor for the severity of COVID-19 disease,” said experts Dr. Papalazaru and Ms Voicidu. According to the cardiologist and author of the study, “If you lose weight, the risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19 will be significantly reduced.”
Why obesity is a threat
According to various studies, obese patients are hospitalized 4-6 times more often than those without obesity. One of the reasons for this striking difference is that the virus can attack fat cells.
By examining tissue cells taken from patients who died from Covid-19, scientists from the Stanford University School of Medicine (USA) found that the virus infects two types of cells that are found in adipose tissue: mature adipose cells, known as adipocytes, and immune cells – macrophages.
Infection of fat cells triggers an inflammatory response. This may be one of the reasons why obese people are at risk of serious complications when they get sick with Covid-19, they are more often hospitalized and die.
Obesity contributes to the formation of blood clots, which is also very dangerous in COVID19.
In addition, obese people often have shortness of breath, and this disruption of the respiratory system has a decisive impact on the severity of COVID-19, which is a respiratory disease.
Research shows that the death rate from COVID-19 is up to 10 times higher in countries where most adults are overweight.