Obesity could shift severe COVID-19 disease to younger ages-
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COVID-19 was first reported in China in late December, 2019, and has since evolved into a global pandemic. Severe disease involves bilateral interstitial pneumonia requiring intensive care unit (ICU) ventilatory support and can evolve into adult respiratory distress syndrome with high mortality. The largest study of 1591 ICU patients from Italy reported a median age of 63 years, with only 203 patients (13%) younger than 51 years. Common comorbidities are hypertension, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and, more rarely, obstructive pulmonary disease. Similar data have been reported from China.

However, as the pandemic hit the Johns Hopkins Hospital in late March, 2020, younger patients began to be admitted to our ICU, many of whom were also obese. An informal survey of colleagues directing ICUs at other hospitals around the country yielded similar findings.

With use of least squares univariate and multivariate linear regression, This study examined the correlation between BMI and age in patients with COVID-19 admitted to ICU at university hospitals. In the dataset of 265 patients (58% male patients), a significant inverse correlation between age and BMI was found, in which younger individuals admitted to hospital were more likely to be obese. There was no difference by sex. The median BMI was 29·3 kg/m2, with only 25% of individuals having a BMI of less than 26 kg/m2, and 25% exceeding a BMI of 34·7 kg/m2.

It can be concluded that in populations with a high prevalence of obesity, COVID-19 will affect younger populations more than previously reported. Public messaging to younger adults, reducing the threshold for virus testing in obese individuals, and maintaining greater vigilance for this at-risk population should reduce the prevalence of severe COVID-19 disease.

Source: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31024-2/fulltext
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May 13, 2020Like