Coronavirus death toll has now exceeded 100,000 worldwide, a figure that adds a sense of scale to COVID-19’s virulent effects. Ongoing research shows that the risk is not equally divided out, however. In fact, there is a gulf between people with certain pre-existing health conditions and those with none at all.
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Health bodies have outlined a number of health conditions that raise your risk of developing severe complications from catching COVID-19.
A recent study conducted on 1,600 hospitalised patients in China has advanced the effort to understand more about those most at risk.
The research, which analysed information for 1,590 hospitalised patients between December 2019 and January 2020, found the risk to be highest in people with cancer.
Those with a tumour had a 250 percent increase in adverse outcomes.
This was followed by patients with COPD – a type of lung disease that causes chronic breathing problems.
COPD patients had a 170 per cent increased risk of serious health outcomes.
What else did the study reveal?
Patients with diabetes and high blood pressure were at a sixty percent increased risk wounding up in ICU, on ventilation or dead.
High blood pressure was the most common underlying health condition.
Overall, the odds of death were markedly higher among those with a health condition – 8.8 percent compared to 1.3 percent in those without.
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The study also found that patients with two or more comorbidities were at a far greater risk of falling critically-ill, compared with those who had a single comorbidity, and even more so as compared with those without.
Eight percent of the hospitalised patients had two or more conditions.
Writing in the European Respiratory Journal, the authors said: “Among laboratory-confirmed cases of Covid-19, patients with any comorbidity yielded poorer clinical outcomes than those without. A greater number of comorbidities also correlated with poorer clinical outcomes.”
The findings are consistent with previous studies.
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One of the first studies to assess the risk of COVID-19 in vulnerability groups was in February.
The study, which used data from more than 72,000 patients, found heart disease to be one of the gravest indicators.
Heart disease, a number of conditions characterised by narrow or blocked blood vessels, accounted for 10.5 percent of COVID-19-related deaths.
Six percent of patients with high blood pressure also died.
High blood pressure is a precursor to heart disease.
What should you do if you fall into an at-risk category?
According to the NHS, the advice for people who may be at increased risk from coronavirus is the same as for most other people.
You should only leave the house for very limited purposes, says the health site.
Permissible reasons to leave the house:
- Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
- One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
- Any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- Travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home
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