You May Be at 'Increased Risk' of Severe COVID, Says CDC
As soon as the first cases of COVID-19 were identified in Wuhan, China in late 2019, it became clear that the virus varied in severity from one person to another. In the months between then and now, health experts have identified a number of health conditions that make an individual more susceptible to the virus, meaning they are more likely to suffer a severe infection, become hospitalized, admitted into an ICU, or even die.
This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its list of underlying medical conditions that put you at an increased risk of COVID-19 infection. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
You Have Cancer
People who are currently battling cancer are more prone to a serious coronavirus infection, predominantly due to the fact that they are immunocompromised "Having cancer currently increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19," the CDC writes. However, it still isn't clear if cancer survivors are also prone to serious infection. "At this time, it is not known whether having a history of cancer increases your risk," they add.
You Have Chronic Kidney Disease
COVID-19 is known to damage the kidneys, so those with a history of kidney disease are at a heightened risk of severe infection. "Having chronic kidney disease of any stage increases your risk for severe illness from COVID-19," explains the CDC.
You Have COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
As COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, those with lung-related conditions are compromised. "Having COPD (including emphysema and chronic bronchitis) is known to increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19," explains the CDC. "Other chronic lung diseases, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and cystic fibrosis, may increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19."
You Have a Heart Condition
COVID-19 can wreak major damage on the heart, so those who are already battling issues in the organ are at a greater risk of severe infection. "Having any of the following serious heart conditions increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19," warns the CDC, listing heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, and pulmonary hypertension. "Having other cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease, such as hypertension (high blood pressure) or stroke, may increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19," they add.
RELATED: 11 Signs COVID is in Your Heart
You Had a Solid Organ Transplant
A strong immune system is needed to fight off infections — including COVID-19. "Many conditions and treatments can cause a person to be immunocompromised or have a weakened immune system. These include: having a solid organ transplant, blood, or bone marrow transplant; immune deficiencies; HIV with a low CD4 cell count or not on HIV treatment; prolonged use of corticosteroids; or use of other immune weakening medicines," says the CDC. "Having a weakened immune system may increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19."
You Are Obese
Obesity, "defined as a body mass index (BMI) between 30 kg/m2 and <40 kg/m2 increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19," the CDC recently added to their guidance. Previously, only "severe obesity" was considered a definite increased risk factor.
You Are Severely Obese
Severe obesity — defined as a BMI of 40 kg/m2 or above — increases your risk of COVID-19. According to an August meta-analysis of data involving 399,000 COVID-19 patients published in Obesity Reviews, people with obesity who contracted the virus were 113% more likely to end up in the hospital than those of a healthy weight, 74% more likely to be admitted to an ICU, and 48% more likely to die.
You Have Sickle Cell Disease
"Having sickle cell disease (SCD) increases your risk for severe illness from COVID-19," explains the CDC. They added that other hemoglobin disorders — including thalassemia— may also increase your risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
This week the CDC added smokers to the list of those at a higher COVID-19 risk. "Being a current or former cigarette smoker increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19," they explain.
You Have Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
While type 2 diabetes has also been linked to a higher risk of COVID, even those with type 1 may be prone as well. "Having type 2 diabetes increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19," they say. "Based on what we know at this time, having type 1 or gestational diabetes may increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19." And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.