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The Effect of Obesity and Diabetes on Patients With COVID-19

An article published in the journal Diabetologia in April of this year (Cariou, et al.) showed that of patients with diabetes who were hospitalized with the novel Sars-Cov-2 virus, obesity was associated with worse outcomes. In fact, BMI was the only independent factor that was associated with higher rates of being intubated and/or death within 7 days.

The study was performed in March of 2020 and looked at 53 centers in France. It showed that patients with diabetes had a 29% chance of being intubated and 10% chance of dying after one week in the hospital. In those with higher body mass index, starting at the overweight range, the risk was increased. This study supports other studies during the pandemic which have shown obesity to be an independent risk factor for poor outcomes in patients who are infected with the novel coronavirus.

The obesity epidemic has increased health problems globally. With a health crisis like the current viral pandemic, the effects on health have been further amplified. This is likely due to the stress on the heart and lungs that being overweight and obese can have. Adding more stress to essential body systems when they are already strained can lead to a system collapse, and in the worst cases, death.

Losing weight is critical to improving or resolving many of these conditions as well as reducing the risk of complications due to infection such as COVID-19. However, obese patients are rarely able to lose a significant amount of weight and keep it off over the long term. Unfortunately, diet and exercise alone are unsuccessful for about 95% of obese patients. Bariatric surgery also known as weight loss surgery or metabolic surgery uses a combination of restriction, malabsorption and in certain cases hormonal change to offer the best opportunity for obese patients to keep the weight off for years and even decades.

If you would like to learn more about weight loss surgery, it’s effect on diabetes and if it is a good option for you, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Tsuda.

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