Covid-19 survivors who have moderate or severe obesity may have a greater risk of experiencing long-term consequences of the disease, compared to the patients who do not have obesity, showed an observational study.
Obesity is known to weaken the immune system and create a chronic inflammatory state. These conditions can lead to poor outcomes after an infection with SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes Covid-19, as per the study.
“To our knowledge, this current study for the first time suggests that patients with moderate to severe obesity are at a greater risk of developing long-term complications of Covid-19 beyond the acute phase,” said Ali Aminian, director of Cleveland Clinic’s Bariatric & Metabolic Institute.
The study, published online in the journal ‘Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism’, showed that compared to patients with normal body mass index (BMI), the risk of hospital admission was 28 per cent and 30 per cent higher in patients with moderate and severe obesity, respectively.
In patients with a BMI of 35 or greater, the need for diagnostic tests to assess cardiac, pulmonary, vascular, renal, gastrointestinal, and mental health problems was significantly higher. compared with normal BMI patients.
“The observations of this study can possibly be explained by the underlying mechanisms at work in patients who have obesity, such as hyper-inflammation, immune dysfunction, and comorbidities,” said Bartolome Burguera, chair of Cleveland Clinic’s Endocrinology & Metabolism Institute.
“Those conditions can lead to poor outcomes in the acute phase of Covid-19 in patients with obesity and could possibly lead to an increased risk of long-term complications of Covid-19 in this patient population,” Burguera added.
The team included a total of 2,839 patients who did not require ICU admission and survived the acute phase of Covid-19. The normal BMI group was considered as a reference. Obesity is a disease classified as having a BMI of 30 or greater.