These common health problems can triple COVID-19 death risk

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In a new study, researchers found that certain pre-existing health conditions may double or triple mortality risk for COVID-19.

They confirmed that heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, congestive heart failure, chronic kidney disease, stroke, and cancer can increase a patient’s risk of dying from the virus.

Among the conditions, heart disease may double a patient’s risk of dying from COVID-19.

Other pre-existing conditions may increase a COVID-19 patient’s risk of death by one-and-a-half to three times.

The findings may help public health officials improve patient care and develop interventions that can target these high-risk people.

The research was conducted by a team at Penn State.

There is a high prevalence of cardiovascular disease and hypertension around the world and in particular, the US. With the persistence of COVID-19 in the US, this connection becomes crucially important.

In the study, the team conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies published from December 2019 through early July 2020, to determine which chronic conditions put hospitalized patients at risk of dying from COVID-19.

They explored 11 co-existing conditions that pose a risk of severe disease and death among COVID-19 patients, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), stroke, congestive heart failure, asthma, chronic liver disease, and HIV/AIDS.

The researchers analyzed data from more than 65,000 patients from 25 studies worldwide.

Patients in the selected studies had an average age of 61 years.

They found that certain pre-existing health conditions affected survival rates more than others.

When compared to hospitalized COVID-19 patients without pre-existing conditions, researchers determined that patients with diabetes and cancer are 1.5 times more likely to die;

Patients with heart disease, high blood pressure, and congestive heart failure are twice as likely to die; and patients with chronic kidney disease are three times more likely to die.

The researchers say that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, may become seasonal and require annual vaccination.

Once an approved and effective vaccine is available, high-risk individuals with these pre-existing conditions should receive vaccination priority to prevent high mortality rates.

One author of the study is Vernon Chinchilli, professor and chair of public health sciences.

The study is published in PLOS ONE.

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