Patients with chronic lung and heart conditions caused or worsened by long-term exposure to air pollution are less able to fight off lung infections and more likely to die.
Air pollution can cause hypertension, diabetes and respiratory diseases, conditions that doctors are starting to link to higher mortality rates for Covid-19.
These conditions affect millions of people, and can increase the risk of more serious health complications if one contracts COVID-19.
Science of the Total Environment. Long-term exposure to NO2 may cause a wide spectrum of severe health problems such as hypertension, diabetes, heart and cardiovascular diseases and even death. The objective of this study is to examine the relationship between long-term exposure to NO2 and coronavirus fatality. Results show that out of the 4443 fatality cases, 3487 (78%) were in five regions located in north Italy and central Spain. Additionally, the same five regions show the highest NO2 concentrations combined with downwards airflow which prevent an efficient dispersion of air pollution. These results indicate that the long-term exposure to this pollutant may be one of the most important contributors to fatality caused by the COVID-19 virus in these regions and maybe across the whole world.
An NHS audit in the UK revealed over three quarters (76.5%) of critically ill coronavirus patients are overweight, according to experts. Coronaviruses can cause more severe symptoms and complications in people with obesity related conditions, according to the World Health Organization.
Artery disease and heart failure further increase risk
The American College of Cardiology says there is consensus among experts that both coronary artery disease and heart failure (HF) patients are at increased risk of acute events or exacerbations from viral respiratory infections, with other co-morbidities (diabetes, obesity, hypertension, COPD, kidney disease) further increasing risk.
In Italy, health officials reported in March that 99% of a sample of patients who died from Covid-19 had an underlying illness — with almost half the deceased having suffered from three or more conditions — though the sample was not drawn randomly and may not represent the whole population. The most common ailments were high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
Patients with COPD and people who are still smoking have higher levels of ACE-2 in their airways, which might put them at an increased risk of developing severe COVID-19 infections, new study says. Patients with COPD should be counselled to strictly abide by social distancing and proper hand hygiene to prevent infection.
A new study of people in the New York City area who have been hospitalized with COVID-19 reveals that most of them have more than one underlying illness, some of which seem to increase their risk for bad outcomes.