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COVID-19: Are You at Higher Risk of Dangerous Symptoms?


The symptoms of the different variants of COVID-19) vary widely. Does it still baffle you that some people develop no symptoms at all, while others get so sick that they barely survive in hospital and sometimes on a ventilator for breath? It’s all about a person’s level of immunity.

Health issues  such as lung disease, heart conditions, diabetes, obesity, sickle cell disease, weakened immune systems, respiratory illnesses such as influenza and even old age can increase your risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Let’s look at health conditions that can increase the risk of dangerous COVID-19 symptoms:

Lung infections

If you develop any of the listed lung conditions below, avoid COVID-19 at all costs because the symptoms are likely to be dangerous:

  • Moderate to severe asthma
  • Lung cancer
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Cystic fibrosis

Your immune system may get weakened by certain medications for these lung infections. Therefore, it’s important to consult your doctor to avoid such medications and also ensure the supply of emergency supply of prescription medications, including asthma inhalers.

You may also need to avoid asthma triggers such as dust mites, pollen, cold air, tobacco smoke, strong odors, strong emotions and stress. Triggers differ per person though!

Heart disease

If you have developed any of these heart conditions below, your COVID-19 symptoms may be quite severe:

·       Pulmonary hypertension

·       Heart failure

·       Cardiomyopathy

·       Congenital heart disease

·       Coronary artery disease

Proceed with taking your prescribed medications. Also, remember to control your blood pressure if you have high blood pressure, else the risks of dangerous symptoms may be higher.

Diabetes and obesity

If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, your risk of serious COVID-19 symptoms increases. This is the same with being overweight or obese.

Your immune system gets weakened by diabetes and obesity. Generally, people who have diabetes have an increased risk of infections.

Losing weight, keeping your blood sugar levels controlled, and taking your medications and insulin are the best ways to control the condition.

Brain and nervous system conditions

If your brain or nervous system is affected by some conditions, that may make your risk of developing COVID-19 symptoms severe. Such conditions include:

  • Dementia
  • Stroke

Cancer and certain blood disorders

If you have cancer, your risk of dangerous COVID-19 symptoms may also be higher. However, this depends on the cancer type and type of treatment.

A blood disorder such as sickle cell anemia can also increase the risk of serious COVID-19 symptoms. These are deformed red blood cells that don’t last long, making oxygen unable to be transported around your body.

Moreover, thalassemia is another inherited blood disorder that may increase your risk of dangerous COVID-19 symptoms.

Always take your medications as prescribed and follow the doctor’s advice.

Weakened immune system

Maintaining a strong immune system is the healthiest thing your body needs to fight infections. Here are conditions to avoid to maintain a healthy immunity:

  • Cancer treatments
  • Organ transplants
  • Bone marrow transplant
  • Long-term use of drugs that weaken your immune system

If your immune system is weakened, take extra precautions to protect yourself from COVID-19.

Chronic kidney or liver disease

People who have chronic kidney or liver disease may end up with a weakened immune system. Also, treating severe COVID-19 symptoms with medications can affect the liver negatively.

If you are presently on dialysis for chronic kidney disease, don’t skip any dialysis appointment as it helps you know if you feel ill.

Mental health conditions

If you have a mental health condition such as depression and schizophrenia spectrum disorder, your COVID-19 symptoms may be quite serious as well.

Down syndrome

A person with down syndrome can develop lung infections. This makes them vulnerable to COVID-19 and other conditions prune to COVID-19 symptoms. They include obesity, diabetes, heart disease and sleep apnea.

Unfortunately, many older people with down syndrome live in nursing homes where exposure to germs from other residents and staff is easier. Also, the condition often affects intellectual abilities, making it hard for those infected to follow prevention measures.

Older age

COVID-19 can spread to people of all ages, including children. However, the older you get, the more you risk developing dangerous COVID-19 symptoms. No wonder people older than 85 years have a much higher risk. Up to 81% of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S are among people from age 65 and older, particularly the ones with other health conditions.

Never forget to take all your medications according to prescriptions. Learn about your medical conditions, medications, emergency contacts, doctors’ names and protection measures especially as a nursing resident.

To diminish your risk of contracting COVID-19 and particularly the risk of severe symptoms, protect yourself by following COVID-19 guidelines, including taking the vaccine. Ensure that your vaccinations even for other conditions are up-to-date.


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