Obesity increases the risk of severe symptoms and death in Covid-19

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – Recent studies have found that obesity increases the risk for severe Covid-19 symptoms.

Now a new study finds nearly 80% of people who were hospitalized from Covid-19, on a ventilator, or died-were overweight or obese. 

A new CDC study of more than 70,000 hospitalized Covid-19 patients from March to December revealed that 50.8% of those patients were obese 28% were overweight. 

“Being obese causes a modest form of immune dysregulation. Meaning that people who are obese immune systems do not respond as well as people who of normal weight,” says Dr. Jay Sizemore, Erlanger Hospital infectious disease. 

Health officials say when the Covid virus enters the body it gets Into the cells to replicate. 

“In order to get into the cells they need to enter through a receptor, a receptor is called an ACE2 receptor. This receptor is more prevalent in fat cells. People that are suffering from obesity have more fat cells, they have more of these receptors so the virus has the ability to get in to replicate and stay there more times,” says Dr. Jaime Ponce, Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery at CHI Memorial. 

Local physicians say people who struggle with obesity often have a diminished lung capacity so when Covid infects their lungs, it can cause fatal complications. This is why doctors advise that those struggling with obesity need to get the vaccine-it could be life saving.

“Especially if you are overweight or particularly obese you need to take the social distancing and masking strategies more seriously and you need to get vaccinated,” says Dr. Sizemore.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic the United States has had more deaths than anyone else and physicians say there is a reason for that. 

“Obesity is more prevalent in our country. Close to 40% of the United States population is suffering from obesity and obesity doesn’t come without consequences,” says Dr. Ponce.

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