The coronavirus, or COVID-19, needs no introduction. By now everyone is familiar with the worldwide pandemic that threatens anyone and everyone. While no person is truly safe from the virus, people that meet certain criteria or have certain health conditions are at particularly high risk.

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Risk Factors for Coronavirus

If none of these factors apply to you, don’t assume you’re completely safe. These risks simply indicate which people are more likely to experience the coronavirus very severely in comparison to others. You’re at a higher risk for complications from COVID-19 if these factors apply to you:

  1. Smoking
  2. Obesity
  3. Age
  4. Existing chronic conditions
  5. Being male

1) Smoking

The risks of smoking have been well-documented for decades. With the rise of a respiratory disease like the coronavirus, smokers with damaged lungs may find themselves at particular risk. As demonstrated by scientific studies, smokers tend to handle the virus poorly compared to nonsmokers. The conclusion to be drawn here is simple: quit smoking, and if you aren’t currently a smoker, don’t pick up the habit!

2) Obesity

Data from UK hospitals indicates that obese coronavirus patients tend to require more intensive care. Considering the health risks obesity is known to cause, such as higher blood pressure and increased changes of heart attacks, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Since losing large amounts of weight immediately isn’t possible, your best chance is to simply focus on proper health and nutrition. Follow your doctor’s guidelines on healthy foods and workout routines. Take extra care to protect yourself when you go in public and wash your hands when you come home.

3) Age

While the exact numbers vary, coronavirus statistics indicate a higher mortality rate in older patients. An aging body and immune system paired with other potential health issues make middle-aged to elderly adults especially vulnerable. This is why it’s absolutely critical to protect elderly loved ones and keep them sheltered as much as possible.

Pro Tip: People of all ages can catch the coronavirus, but older adults are especially vulnerable. Protect your elderly loved ones and take care of yourself.

4) Existing Chronic Conditions

Underlying chronic conditions make victims more vulnerable to even mild diseases. The coronavirus takes this to a whole new level, particularly for anyone with chronic issues affecting the lungs. Diabetics also face a higher risk. If you live with a chronic condition, consult with your doctor about a strategy to keep you safe and healthy.

5) Being Male

Finally, one risk factor seems especially unfair: the victim’s sex. Information from Italy shows a much higher mortality rate in male patients than female. Doctors aren’t entirely sure why, though previous research does indicate that women’s immune systems may respond more aggressively to foreign threats than men’s. Whatever the cause, the fact remains that male patients may be more likely to experience complications or death from COVID-19. Your chances will likely only increase if you have another risk factor on top of being male. Take control of your health and work to protect yourself from infection.

Stay Safe

Immunocompromised or at-risk people face a higher chance of suffering or even dying from contracting the coronavirus. However, as a general rule, COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate. Whether you’re at significant risk or not, make sure to follow the CDC-recommended guidelines to protect both yourself and others.

Join the conversation for more information about COVID-19 and how to stay healthy.

Dr Abbas Jafri MD