As we have all been at home dealing with this pandemic, our NYBG providers have been closely looking at data emerging from around the world regarding the risk of severe Covid-19 illness in our patients.
Data from China, Seattle, New York, and France showed that patients with a BMI over 40 were much more likely to be hospitalized for Covid-19, more likely to be admitted to ICU, and more likely to be intubated. This progression also means a higher mortality rate for our patients. Together, these studies clearly show that obesity is a major risk factor for the development of severe Covid-19 disease. This risk appears to be independent of cardiovascular or pulmonary disease.
Risk Factors Associated with Obesity
Scientists are only now beginning to understand why this risk exists. One-way obesity increases risk is its effect on pulmonary function. Obesity is associated with decreased lung volumes and weaker respiratory muscles that are important in fighting Covid-19 disease. Obesity increases abdominal pressure when supine which makes ventilation more difficult. Obesity has been shown to be a pro-inflammatory disease, and elevated cytokines in the blood may predispose obese patients to a more severe immune reaction to the disease. Finally, obesity is also associated with diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease, all of which increase the risk of developing pneumonia.
The good news is that successful weight loss surgery reverses the pulmonary and metabolic changes associated with obesity and lowers your risk of severe illness substantially.
At the New York Bariatric Group, we have worked to create a One Day workup where you can get all required clearances in our office in one day. Many insurance companies in New York have eliminated requirements for medical weight loss programs which means we can get you to surgery in 1-2 months from your initial consultation.
Given the concerns expressed about a possible second wave of the Covid-19 virus in the fall, now is the time to get started.
Together, We’ve Got This!