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Washington DC and The Holy Land>Obesity and COVID-19
Eleazar 11:57 AM 09-08-2020
Doctors studying why obesity may be tied to serious COVID-19

By CANDICE CHOI
Associated Press
SEPTEMBER 8, 2020 — 11:41AM



NEW YORK — In the early days of the pandemic, doctors noticed something about the people severely ill from COVID-19: Many were obese.

The link became more apparent as coronavirus swept across the globe and data mounted, and researchers are still trying to figure out why.

Excess weight increases the chances of developing a number of health problems, including heart disease and diabetes. And those are among the conditions that can make COVID-19 patients more likely to get very sick.

But there's some evidence that obesity itself can increase the likelihood of serious complications from a coronavirus infection. One study of more than 5,200 infected people, including 35% who were obese, found that the chances of hospitalization rose for people with higher BMIs, even when taking into account other conditions that could put them at risk.

Scientists are still studying the factors that might be at play — the way obesity affects the immune system may be one — but say it's another example of the pandemic illuminating existing public health challenges.

Obesity may be one reason some countries or communities have been hit hard by the virus, researchers say. In the United States, the obesity rate among adults has climbed for decades and is now at 42%. The rate is even higher among Black and Hispanic Americans.

A person who is 5 feet, 7 inches tall is considered obese starting at around 190 pounds, or a body mass index of 30. The increased risk for serious COVID-19 illness appears more pronounced with extreme obesity, or a BMI of 40 or higher.

Researchers say multiple factors likely make it harder for people who are obese to fight a coronavirus infection, which can damage the lungs. Carrying around a lot of extra weight strains the body, and that excess fat could limit the lungs' ability to expand and breathe.

Another issue is chronic inflammation, which often comes with obesity. Inflammation is a natural way our bodies fight harmful intruders like viruses. But long-lasting inflammation isn’t healthy and could undermine your body’s defenses when a real threat arises.

“It’s like pouring gasoline on a smoldering fire,” said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, an obesity researcher and dean of Tufts University's school of nutrition science and policy near Boston.

And even if people who are obese aren't diagnosed with diabetes or heart disease, Mozaffarian notes their health may not be optimal.

How fat is distributed in the body may play a role too. One study found an increased risk for death from COVID-19 for people with severe obesity, but only among men. The findings could reflect that men tend to carry fat around the stomach, said Sara Tartof, a co-author of the study who researches infectious diseases at Kaiser Permanente in Southern California. That type of fat is more associated with the production of a hormone that could be contributing to more severe illness, she said.

Scientists are also exploring whether there’s something specific about the coronavirus itself that makes the obese more susceptible to getting very sick.

For example, the virus infects cells by attaching to receptors on the surface of certain cells. That receptor is abundant on fat cells and scientists are studying whether that makes them “a good nest for the virus,” said Dr. Francois Pattou at the University of Lille in France, who has co-authored research on the link between obesity and severe COVID-19 illness.

Complications in care can arise once hospitalized, too. To help with breathing, for example, doctors have been putting patients hospitalized with COVID-19 on their stomachs. But that can be difficult for the obese, making it more likely they’re put on ventilators.

“They need a machine to help just do the work,” said Dr. David Kass of Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University, who has co-authored a study on obesity and severe COVID-19 illness.

Yet another concern: A COVID-19 vaccine may not be as effective for the obese, as seems to be the case with the flu and other vaccines.

Why that might be isn't known, but one possibility is that obesity impairs an aspect of the immune system that needs to be activated for vaccines to work, said Dr. Nancie MacIver, who researches how weight affects the immune system at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. And she said whatever factors are at play would likely be applicable to a COVID-19 vaccine, but added that it is still important to get it.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
[Reply]
Hammock Parties 12:11 PM 09-08-2020
Kamala will outlaw red meat if elected.
[Reply]
KCChiefsFan88 12:14 PM 09-08-2020
I've been banned from every COVID-19 related thread in the main forum for stating this fact since April.

Hilarious.
[Reply]
Bowser 12:14 PM 09-08-2020
Hey look, yet more research saying it's probably a good idea to not sit around and wait for the forklift to get you off the toilet when you get stuck one day.
[Reply]
Spott 12:22 PM 09-08-2020
Treadmills are probably the best vaccine there is for this virus, but people would rather cure it with cheeseburgers, cigarettes and beer.
[Reply]
Bowser 12:24 PM 09-08-2020
Originally Posted by Spott:
Treadmills are probably the best vaccine there is for this virus, but people would rather cure it with cheeseburgers, cigarettes and beer.
I'm not a smoker, but


[Reply]
shitgoose 12:27 PM 09-08-2020
Being obese compounds any potential health issue a person might experience.

Excessive sugar and processed carbohydrate intake is a far larger threat to the global population than COVID.
[Reply]
Bowser 12:28 PM 09-08-2020
Originally Posted by shitgoose:
Being obese compounds any potential health issue a person might experience.

Excessive sugar and processed carbohydrate intake is a far larger threat to the global population than COVID.
100%
[Reply]
NinerDoug 12:41 PM 09-08-2020
Well, the larger your body, the more living tissue you have that requires oxygen, I would imagine.

But your lungs grow according to your non-obese body size, I would think. If you weight 50% more than you should, your lungs won’t have 50% greater capacity.

So you start with a disadvantage. A disease that reduces your lungs capacity to supply oxygen would seem like a likely candidate to be harder on the obese, from a laymen’s point of view.

Bill Maher is right. This country is too fat.
[Reply]
AdolfOliverBush 12:42 PM 09-08-2020
Everything is worse if you're fat, from a sprained ankle to cancer. Duh.
[Reply]
Just Passin' By 12:47 PM 09-08-2020
Originally Posted by shitgoose:
Being obese compounds any potential health issue a person might experience.

Excessive sugar and processed carbohydrate intake is a far larger threat to the global population than COVID.

This actually leads to a question. Has anyone here experienced any bad effects from Stevia?
[Reply]
Eleazar 12:49 PM 09-08-2020
Originally Posted by Spott:
Treadmills are probably the best vaccine there is for this virus, but people would rather cure it with cheeseburgers, cigarettes and beer.
Eh, can't they just give me a regular vaccine? /CP
[Reply]
Spott 12:50 PM 09-08-2020
Originally Posted by Bowser:
I'm not a smoker, but

Well, I like those same two things, but it just means I have to run a little more to burn it off since I’m not in my 20’s anymore.
[Reply]
TLO 12:54 PM 09-08-2020
Originally Posted by Spott:
Treadmills are probably the best vaccine there is for this virus, but people would rather cure it with cheeseburgers, cigarettes and beer.
There's some pretty strong data out there across numerous studies that show smoking may actually have some sort of protective effect against covid.
[Reply]
Eleazar 12:57 PM 09-08-2020
BMI of 30 is "obese", so if you're 6' tall that is > 240 lbs. To be "extremely obese" you'd need to be > 300 lbs.
[Reply]
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