Eat This, Not That!
During a week when even the President was hospitalized for COVID-19, it's as important as ever to know the risk factors that could lead to severe symptoms. At the 90th anniversary of the AAP's National Conference&Exhibition, keynote speaker Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, presented two slides' worth of them. Read on to see if you have any, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus. 1 Strongly Associated With Increased Risk: Serious Heart Conditions "Having any of the following serious heart conditions increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19," says the CDC"Heart failureCoronary artery diseaseCardiomyopathiesPulmonary hypertensionHaving other cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease, such as hypertension (high blood pressure) or stroke, may increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19." 2 Strongly Associated With Increased Risk: Chronic Kidney Disease "As kidney transplant recipients and those with kidney disease worry about the risk of contracting coronavirus, Dr. Sise and Dr. Safa point out, there is nothing unique about kidney disease that would increase a person's chance of getting COVID-19. The risk comes from getting necessary care," reports Mass General. "Patients on dialysis may be at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 because they cannot self-quarantine at home," says Dr. Sise. "They need to commute to and from dialysis and interact with the health care system more frequently than most of the population. Fortunately, infection control policies and physical distancing at dialysis units have limited the spread of COVID-19 at these sites." 3 Strongly Associated With Increased Risk: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) "Having COPD (including emphysema and chronic bronchitis) is known to increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19," says the CDC. "Other chronic lung diseases, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and cystic fibrosis, may increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19." 4 Strongly Associated With Increased Risk: Diabetes Type 2 "Having type 2 diabetes increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19," reports the CDC. "Continue taking your diabetes pills and insulin as usual. Test your blood sugar and keep track of the results, as directed by your healthcare provider. Make sure that you have at least a 30-day supply of your diabetes medicines, including insulin." 5 Strongly Associated With Increased Risk: Obesity Obesity—defining as having a BMI over 30—"is a common, serious, and costly chronic disease. Having obesity puts people at risk for many other serious chronic diseases and increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19," says the CDC. "Having obesity increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19:Having obesity may triple the risk of hospitalization due to a COVID-19 infection.Obesity is linked to impaired immune function.Obesity decreases lung capacity and reserve and can make ventilation more difficult.As BMI increases, the risk of death from COVID-19 increases.Studies have demonstrated that obesity may be linked to lower vaccine responses for numerous diseases (influenza, Hepatitis B, tetanus)."RELATED: CDC Warns of Deadly New COVID Syndrome 6 Strongly Associated With Increased Risk: Cancer "Some cancer patients might be at increased risk of serious illness from an infection because their immune systems can be weakened by cancer and its treatments," reports Cancer.org. "Most people who were treated for cancer in the past (especially if it was years ago) are likely to have normal immune function, but each person is different. It's important that all cancer patients and survivors, whether currently in treatment or not, talk with a doctor who understands their situation and medical history." 7 Strongly Associated With Increased Risk: Sickle Cell Disease "Sickle cell disease, which causes Covid-like symptoms — clotting, strokes, and severe oxygen deprivation — is one of the medical conditions that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says puts people at higher risk for severe illness from the coronavirus," reports Stat News. "Now, a research team is trying to determine whether the several million people who merely carry one copy of the sickle cell mutation — but do not have the disease itself — could be more vulnerable to COVID-19, and whether that might be one reason the virus is disproportionately sickening and killing Black Americans. 8 Strongly Associated With Increased Risk: Immunocompromised State from Solid Organ Transplant "Many conditions and treatments can cause a person to be immunocompromised or have a weakened immune system," reports the CDC. This is one of them. 9 May Confer Increased Risk: Asthma "The bottom line for people with asthma during this pandemic is to keep doing what you have been doing all along—continue taking your controller medication and inform your healthcare provider of any symptoms that you may develop," reports the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma&Immunology. "And of course, remember to practice social distancing and wash your hands." 10 May Confer Increased Risk: Other Chronic Lung Diseases "Because there is currently no vaccine to prevent illness or a specific treatment available, it is more important than ever for you to follow all the guidelines to minimize your risk of infection – with a huge emphasis on staying home and physically distanced from others. We know that isn't easy," says the American Lung Association.RELATED: 11 Symptoms of COVID You Never Want to Get 11 May Confer Increased Risk: Cerebrovascular Disease Cerebrovascular Disease references disorders of the blood vessels and blood supply to the brain. "There is a growing body of published evidence that complications of COVID-19 are not limited to the pulmonary system. Neuroradiologists should be aware of a wide range of neurologic manifestations, including cerebrovascular disease," says a study in the American Journal of Neuroradiology. 12 May Confer Increased Risk: Diabetes Type 1 "Based on what we know at this time, having type 1 or gestational diabetes may increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19," says the CDC. 13 May Confer Increased Risk: Hypertension "The latest evidence shows that people with uncontrolled or untreated high blood pressure may be at risk of getting severely ill with COVID-19. It's also important to note that people with untreated high blood pressure seem to be more at risk of complications from COVID-19 than those whose high blood pressure is managed with medication," reports the Mayo Clinic. "If you have high blood pressure, the most important step you can take is to manage it. Follow the treatment plan you've created with your doctor. Protecting yourself against the serious health issues that high blood pressure can cause is especially important with COVID-19." 14 May Confer Increased Risk: Immunocompromised State Bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive medications"Having a weakened immune system may increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19," says the CDC. "Actions to take:Continue any recommended medicines or treatments and follow the advice of your healthcare provider.Do not stop taking your medicines without talking to your healthcare provider.Make sure that you have at least a 30-day supply of your medicines.Do not delay life-saving treatment or emergency care.Call your healthcare provider if you have concerns about your condition or feel sick." 15 May Confer Increased Risk: Inherited Metabolic Disorders "The COVID-19 pandemic is testing the resilience of robust health systems around the world. This may be impacting you in many different ways, such as creating additional anxiety or exacerbating other medical or therapy issues related to your Inherited Metabolic Disease (IMD)," says the European Reference Network for Hereditary Metabolic Disorders. They recommend social distance, good hand hygiene, not interrupting your therapies and going to the hospital only when needed.RELATED: 11 COVID Symptoms No One Talks About But Should 16 May Confer Increased Risk: Neurologic Conditions "Having neurologic conditions such as dementia may increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19," says the CDC. "Actions to takeTake your medicines as prescribed.Make sure that you have at least a 30-day supply of your medicines.Call your healthcare provider if you have concerns about your condition or feel sick." 17 May Confer Increased Risk: Liver Disease "Having chronic liver disease, especially cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), may increase your risk for severe illness from COVID-19," reports the CDC."Actions to takeTake your medicines exactly as prescribed.Make sure that you have at least a 30-day supply of your medicines.Call your healthcare provider if you have concerns about your condition or feel sick." 18 May Confer Increased Risk: Pregnancy "Based on what we know at this time, pregnant people might be at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant people," reports the CDC. "Additionally, there may be an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth, among pregnant people with COVID-19," adding: "Do not skip your prenatal care appointments." 19 May Confer Increased Risk: Smoking "If you currently smoke, quit. If you used to smoke, don't start again. If you've never smoked, don't start," says the CDC. 20 May Confer Increased Risk: Thalassemia "Having a hemoglobin disorder, like thalassemia, may increase your risk for severe illness from COVID-19," reports the CDC, adding: "Try to prevent vaso-occlusive episodes or pain crises by avoiding possible triggers." As for yourself, if you experience any of the symptoms in this article, contact a medical professional ASAP, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.