life-threatening for people with Obesity
According to a WHO report, coronavirus can cause severe symptoms and complications in obese and diabetic people that might result in higher mortality.
Obesity and Covid19
COVID-19 has put a serious risk on obese patients as compared to normal ones. The virus is affecting obese patients in a way that if they catch this infection, their survival rate is reduced and the complication rate is increased. According to data released by WHO, most of the people who died from the virus were obese or diabetic. There is an alarming situation for people suffering from Obesity in the entire world.
Amidst the serious conditions, there is another thing that has become a concern for obese people. This pandemic has brought a halt to Bariatric and Metabolic surgery and has delayed the treatment of patients suffering from obesity.
Obese people constantly find themselves at the bottom of every priority list and struggle with bias. In the lockdown, when people have to stay in their homes, binge eating has become common. Obese people can’t avoid eating more than usual and gaining weight sitting at their homes and doing nothing. Also, this fact that COVID-19 and lockdown have affected the financial condition of every household that can’t be neglected and is a serious cause of tension and anxiety.
Reasons why COVID-19 is a more
serious situation for obese patients
- Due to lockdown, obese people also are forced to stay indoors. This has led to stress and anxiety in their lives.
- Quarantine has made obese people more vulnerable to binge eating.
- Sedentary lifestyle as they have to sit at home and do nothing. As a result of which, obese people are gaining more weight.
- A complete halt to Bariatric and Metabolic surgery due to COVID-19 and delay in treatment.
- Social media circulating weight gain memes and related content. This makes obese people feel more anxious.
- Obesity causes breathing issues which is a major symptom of coronavirus infection.
- The complication rate is greater for obese patients if they catch the infection.
- The survival rate is less for obese patients if they catch the infection.
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In the time when COVID-19 is spreading like a wildfire, people who are morbidly obese have greater chances of catching the infection. But what can be the reason behind this? Dr. Mohit Bhandari explains the reasons why obesity and coronavirus are linked together.
In our body, there are fat cells called “Adipocytes”. There are multiple receptors present on these fat cells. One receptor called Angiotensin is found the most in fatty cells. It is found that the affinity of the virus present in COVID-19 is more towards angiotensin receptors, which is why we can see the coronavirus affecting obese people more. The second reason is the improper working of the lungs in obese people. Breathing problems can be seen very commonly in obese patients due to which there are greater chances of developing Pneumonia.
There are two types of immunity – innate immunity and acquired immunity. In obese people, Innate and Acquired Immunity both are less due to the deposition of fat. And because of low immunity, fighting with any type of virus becomes seriously low in obese people. If you are obese, overweight or morbidly obese, then take care of yourself the most because even in WHO, they have mentioned obese people to take great care of themselves as they have the highest chances of getting affected by it.
After the lockdown was imposed all over the world, the government has declared to stop the elective surgeries until the time COVID-19 goes away. Elective surgeries are those surgeries that don’t involve a medical emergency, the procedures that are scheduled in advance, and need not be performed in a hurry. Government agencies suggested a temporary halt in elective surgeries amidst the COVID-19 emergency, which Dr. Mohit Bhandari feels is right. According to him, there are two good reasons behind this suggestion given by government agencies.
China is a diabetes world capital. Nearly 32% of the COVID-19 cases were diabetic, and 10% of the diabetic patients died within 10 days. Because of diabetes, these patients survived lesser than normal people. According to Dr. Mohit Bhandari, Diabetes not only increased the death rate but also reduced the survival days of patients infected by a coronavirus.
In India, 50-60% of the people who died were diabetic. In European countries, Diabetes is one of the biggest risk factors to catch COVID-19 infection. In America also, 28 percent of people who died were diabetic.
The patients who have undergone Bariatric Surgery in the past three, six, or twelve months have a most common query that what diet should be taken to combat COVID-19 infection. According to Dr. Mohit Bhandari, the guidelines and diet plan that is given to you by your surgeon should be strictly followed after Bariatric Surgery. Apart from that, some important things need to be taken care of – Protein intake should be high. Proteins are structural core to fight any kind of infection. You should take nearly 1.5 grams of protein per kg of body weight. For example, 50 kg of body weight would require 75 grams of protein. Along with proteins, you need to take multivitamins that are suggested to you by your doctor.
Consumption of zinc is important not only for bariatric surgery patients but also for normal people. Zinc forms a protective layer between the virus and the mucus membrane of your body. It also has anti-viral properties that have been stated in many research papers. Following the diet plan is given to you by your doctor, and taking basic safety measures can help you in combating the novel coronavirus infection. Stick to a healthy lifestyle and intake as many nutritions as you can.
The bodies of diabetic people can not generate enough white blood cells (WBC) to fight infection. That is why even normal flu affects diabetes patients more. Some hormones in our body secrete during infection. In diabetes patients, these hormones are released more, as compared to normal people. That is why diabetic patients are affected the most by COVID-19 infection in the whole world.
According to Dr. Mohit Bhandari, if your diabetes is not under control, and you are obese,
then you have higher chances of getting the infection. Consult your doctor and keep your
diabetes under control. To avoid the infection, keep a check on your abdominal obesity and Diabetes.
Dr. Mohit Bhandari suggests some precautions for post-operative Bariatric Patients-
Breathing exercise- The patients who have been operated recently, should do deep breathing
exercises daily. Not only those who have been operated recently but also those patients who went for Bariatric surgery in the last few years.
Propensity to infection- After surgery, your lungs get better and there is less chance of
getting the infection. But to keep your lungs functioning properly, sufficient nutrition and
regular physical activity are necessary. Every patient should burn at least 350-500 kcal daily.
Dr. Mohit Bhandari recommends following the diet given by your nutritionist, deep breathing exercises, and burning enough calories per day after the surgery. If this routine is followed strictly, the patient can prevent infections not only in present but in the future as well.