Scientists find new risk factors for high odds of COVID-19 infection

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In a new study from the University of Maryland, researchers found that people with type 2 diabetes and a high body mass index (BMI) are at greater risk of severe complications related to COVID-19, they are also at greater risk of getting the symptomatic infection in the first place.

As the COVID-19 pandemic lingers, researchers have found associations between certain lifestyle factors and a person’s risk of getting infected.

In the study, the team used data from the UK Biobank of 500,000 British volunteers over age 40.

They examined health factors in those who tested positive for COVID-19 and compared them to those who tested negative.

They found that those who had positive COVID-19 test results were more likely to be obese or have type 2 diabetes.

Those who tested negative were more likely to have high levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and be at a healthy weight with a normal body mass index (BMI).

The team says some baseline cardiometabolic factors appear to either protect a person from COVID-19 infection while others make a person more vulnerable to infection.

These findings are statistical associations that point to the importance of a healthy functioning immune system for protecting against COVID-19 infection.

The findings point to some healthy measures people can take to help potentially lower their risk of COVID-19 infection.

Controlling body weight is very important during this time, and measures to increase HDL levels like regular exercise and a diet rich in monounsaturated fats like extra virgin olive oil and avocados might be helpful too.

If you care about COVID-19 risk, please read studies about some pre-existing conditions may double or triple mortality risk for COVID-19 and findings of a new way to predict who will get severe COVID-19 and die.

For more information about COVID-19 treatment and prevention, please see recent studies about existing vaccine could make COVID-19 less deadly and results showing that this health problem a key sign of COVID-19 in frail, older people.

The study is published in PLoS ONE. One author of the study is Charles Hong, MD, Ph.D.

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