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The 4 major risk factors for the coronavirus

COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, but there are a few conditions that put you at a higher risk.

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COVID-19 poses a higher risk to some people more than others. Find out which conditions put you at a higher risk and how they contribute to an increase in hospitalization or death.

Which risk factors made President Trump more susceptible to COVID-19?

President Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 on October 1, 2020, according to a memorandum from the President’s Physician.

There are a few reasons why President Trump may have been susceptible to coronavirus:

  • Age. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at 74 years old, the POTUS’s risk of hospitalization is five times greater than that of people 18 to 29 years old. Furthermore, his risk of death is 90 times greater compared to young adults in that same age group.
  • Weight. Based on his physical exam in April of this year, the 6’3” commander-in-chief weighed 244 pounds, giving him a body-mass index of 30.5. This makes him clinically obese, which studies suggest triples the risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19.
  • High cholesterol levels. Trump takes medication for high cholesterol, which could increase his risk.
  • Gender. As a male, the president is more likely to die from the COVID-19 than women in his age group.

“Just because he has risk factors does not mean he is going to have severe disease or succumb to the illness” says Dr. Nathalie McDermott, a clinical research fellow at Kings College London. “He’s also the president of the United States, so he has the best healthcare in the world should he become unwell.”

The major risk factors for COVID-19

These main risk factors make you more vulnerable to contracting the coronavirus and warrant taking extra precautions.

Age

Adults over 65 years old — and especially those older than 85 — face an increased risk of hospitalization and death related to COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Weight

Your body fat percentage affects how your immune system responds to an increased level of inflammation in your body. Studies suggest that obesity can triple the risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19.

Occupation

People who work in high-touch jobs have an inherently higher risk of contracting the disease, such as:

  • Certified nursing assistants
  • Correction officers
  • Emergency responders
  • Farmworkers
  • Janitors
  • Meatpackers
  • Transit workers

Underlying health conditions

Some preexisting health conditions compromise the immune system and increase the likelihood of not only contracting COVID-19, but experiencing life-threatening symptoms, according to Mayo Clinic.

Most of these conditions affect the parts of the body closely tied to the coronavirus, such as the respiratory system:

  • Blood and circulation disorders
  • Sickle-cell anemia
  • Thalassemia
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Diabetes (types 1 and 2)
  • Heart disease
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart failure
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Lung disease
  • Neurological disorders
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Respiratory diseases or conditions
  • Asthma
  • COPD
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Emphysema
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Lung cancer
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Weakened immune system
  • Bone marrow transplant
  • Cancer treatment
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Long-term use of corticosteroids, like prednisone
  • Organ transplant

How to reduce your risk of catching COVID-19

The best way to avoid catching the coronavirus is to self-isolate and avoid all contact with others. While self-isolation isn’t a realistic option for most people, these precautions can help you stay safe.

  • If you’re in public, wear a mask.
  • Avoid anyone who is sick.
  • Avoid mass gatherings.
  • Practice social distancing by staying six feet apart from others.
  • Avoid sharing items with others.
  • Disinfect high-touch surfaces in your home.
  • Manage current health conditions with medication and treatment, such as keeping up with dialysis.
  • Stay home whenever possible.
  • Try not to touch your face.
  • Avoid public transportation and ride-sharing where possible.
  • Set up a telehealth call instead of going to the doctor.
  • Have medications mailed to you, often for no extra cost.
  • Wash your hands several times a day.

How to get tested for COVID-19

You can visit a doctor at a medical clinic or hospital to get tested for the coronavirus. You might have access to a drive-through testing location, too — but you may need to make an appointment or meet specific requirements.

If you’re avoiding going out, you could get an at-home coronavirus test kit — just be sure it’s received authorization for use by the Food and Drug Administration.

Bottom line

While the coronavirus can affect anyone, knowing which risk factors to be aware of can help you determine your level of risk. If you’re more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, take extra precautions to protect yourself from the virus, like wearing a mask and staying home when possible.

In the meantime, keep up with changing news about the coronavirus.

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