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This Makes You Twice as Likely to Get COVID, Study Says

The condition also makes you more prone to death.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Over the last year, researchers have been studying every aspect of the COVID-19 virus, in hopes of thoroughly understanding the virus. One of their areas of focus is narrowing down the list of those who are more likely to get infected, experience a severe infection, and die from the virus, responsible for the deaths of over 465,000 Americans. They have learned that everything from age and gender to socioeconomic group and preexisting conditions are risk factors. Now, a new study has taken a deeper dive into one health condition in particular, finding that if you have it, your risk of COVID doubles. Read on to find out what it is—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

Those With Dementia Were Twice as Likely to Contract COVID

A new study, courtesy of Case Western Reserve University researchers and published in Alzheimers & Dementia, The Journal of the Alzheimer's association, determined that those with dementia were twice as likely to contract COVID and significantly more likely to be hospitalized as a result and die from it than those without the degenerative condition. 

"Our results emphasize how important it is to protect those with dementia from acquiring SARS-CoV2, for they are at higher risk for severe disease than those without dementia," said study co-author Pamela Davis, dean emerita of the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. "These patients may constitute another vulnerable category. However, more work is required to understand the mechanism by which this occurs."

They also discovered that Black people with dementia were almost three times as likely to become infected with the virus than white people with the condition. "This study highlights the need to protect patients with dementia, especially those who are Black," the authors wrote in the study.

The study utilized health records of 61.9 million people in the United States, which was collected from 360 hospitals and 317,000 health care providers across all 50 states.

The researchers hypothesized several reasons why those with dementia are more prone to infection, including that people with the condition may be more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 because of blood-brain barrier damage that can allow certain viruses and bacteria to reach the brain more easily, that it could interfere with a person's ability to wear a mask, physically distance from others or frequently clean their hands. Additionally, the risk factor for dementia and COVID—cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity and hypertension—are associated with worse outcomes.

"On behalf of the millions of people living with Alzheimer's and other dementia that we represent, these preliminary findings suggest a frightening reality of the vulnerabilities associated with dementia," said Maria Carrillo, Ph.D., Alzheimer's Association chief science officer. "It is critical we develop and implement strategies that strike a balance between keeping people, especially long-term care residents, safe from COVID-19 but also protecting them from health-related harms associated with social isolation."

RELATED: 7 Tips You Must Follow to Avoid COVID, Say Doctors

How to Avoid COVID-19

Follow Dr. Anthony Fauci's fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more