COVID-19: What Underlying Conditions Can Make You More at Risk?

The phenomenon of “underlying conditions” has cast a long shadow on the ravaging effects of the coronavirus pandemic since its beginning. Underlying conditions refer to chronic medical conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cancer and kidney disease.
Elderly patients are also at a higher risk of severe illness.

These conditions have been given as the reason for the deaths of many victims.

Since COVID-19 is a new disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) has admitted that there is limited data and information about the impact of underlying medical conditions and whether they increase one’s risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Contrary to previous speculations that said young people were not at risk of contracting COVID-19, the WHO has confirmed that people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19:
According to the WHO, available evidence from what experts have gathered so far, as at July 17, 2020, suggest that people with the following conditions might be at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19:

1. Cancer
2. Chronic kidney disease
3. COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
4. Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
5. Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 or higher)
6. Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
7. Sickle cell disease
8. Type 2 diabetes mellitus
While these may be the known underlying conditions, health and medical experts and researchers are still not certain on all underlying conditions. Therefore, it is advisable to still observe the prescribed safety protocols to stay safe.

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Supported by STAR Ghana Foundation with funding from UKAID and the European Union

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