Friday, July 3, 2020

COVID-19 deaths: The mystery goes beyond age, new study details

The pandemic is growing day by day, with the number of deaths also growing day by day, with around 250,000 deaths globally. Although we initially saw that older people have serious complications with the disease leading to their deaths, a new study with the latest outcomes says it is much more complicated than the age.

The factors

We already saw that age might play a major role. The CDC reports that elderly people above 65 account for most deaths. Also, most elderly people who get the disease require hospitalizations and ICUs. This is because many elderly people suffer from various secondary conditions like cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, etc. This makes them highly vulnerable when the disease hits them.

We also see that diabetes is also becoming the culprit in increasing the mortality of the people. In a review study, it was found that people with diabetes are 3.7 times more prone to have a critical phase of COVID-19 than the rest of the population. In addition, it is more shocking that it comes without the underlying secondary conditions. This not the first. Previous studies with flu and pneumonia have also shown a similar trend.

The exact mechanism of why diabetes is elevating COVID-19 is a mystery to explore. It is also particularly noted that people with type-2-diabetes show changes in the body’s immune system. This very mechanism of affecting the body’s ability to defense is why apparently the disease is getting worse. But we also see that people with apparently normal blood sugar levels at type-2-diabetes do not have these severe effects. One should note that these effects are not understood in people with type-1-Diabetes. One study shows that people with type-1-diabetes may sometime experience diabetic ketoacidosis with COVID-19, but further studies are needed to confirm this fact.

The second factor behind mortality is cardiovascular disorders and diseases like hypertension. People with both healthy and underlying heart conditions are badly affected by the disease. Scientists that it may be due to two possible theories that this could happen. One is by depleting the oxygen supply to the heart by damaging the lungs, so the heart gets damaged by heavy pumping. Other is by directly affecting the heart as the heart contains ACE-2 enzymes that facilitate viral infection. Further studies are in need to check the reliability of these theories.

Smoking is also a major contributor. We already saw in detail how smoking is uplifting the disease in people.

Yet another major factor that plays a vital role in mortality is obesity. Several studies show us that obese people are more prone to get the disease. They are also more prone to be in critical care than the non-obese counterpart. It is of particular importance in the U.S because of the fact 40 percent of adults are obese. Also, a study in The Lancet shows that people who are overweight tend to have 86 percent more chances of getting pneumonia than a normal individual. Many other preliminary studies also blame obesity as a possible culprit for mortality, but the exact mechanism of how obesity is increasing the severity is also a mystery. Scientists speculate that a reduction in lung capacity or an increase in inflammatory relations can be the possible cause.

Another study shows that blood groups also play a vital role in the disease. This recent study in China shows that people with blood type A are more susceptible to the disease. This includes people with A-positive, A-negative, and AB-positive, AB-negative blood groups. However, people with non-A blood type have lesser chances of getting the disease. The exact mechanism of this is also a mystery as antigens on the blood surface helps us produce antibodies. Research has shown that the anti-A antibody helps protect the virus. This may be a possible reason behind this pattern.

Lastly, our genetic makeup also plays a vital role in the disease. Genes determine the immune status of an individual. For example, a certain study suggests that genes determine a combination of Human Leukocyte Antigen plays a vital role in conferring immunity against the virus. While certain combinations work, and rest do not work. Although. Why this occurs is still unclear. Scientists speculate a lot of genes in our body may offer vital close in understanding the severity of the disease.

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Source: LiveScience

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