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An Update on Underlying Conditions

  • Category: Coronavirus
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Baton Rouge General
An Update on Underlying Conditions

Throughout the pandemic, underlying conditions have been one of the major risk factors that can impact how severe the virus affects you. According to the CDC, underlying conditions were responsible for six times as many hospitalizations and 12 times as many deaths compared to those who contracted the coronavirus but did not have high-risk issues. While the term can mean any condition that affects your health, there are a few underlying conditions that put patients at a much higher risk for hospitalization from COVID-19. As more data has come in, the CDC has updated its list to include conditions that we have the most evidence for putting patients at risk.

Here are the most current conditions on the CDC’s list:

  • Specific heart conditions – The CDC’s list has listed “serious heart conditions” all along, but has now specifically highlighted heart failure, coronary artery disease and cardiomyopathy. Nearly 30 Louisiana residents die of heart disease every day.
  • Obesity – New indications are that those with body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher are at higher risk. The initial list indicated a BMI over 40, which is considered “severe obesity.” Nearly 37% of Louisianans are in this group, landing the state at #4 spot nationwide, behind Mississippi, West Virginia and Arkansas.
  • Organ transplant – People with a compromised immune system from a solid organ transplant are in higher danger of infection.
  • Hypertension – People with uncontrolled or untreated high blood pressure may be at risk of getting severely ill with COVID-19, as well as more at risk of complications from COVID-19, than those whose high blood pressure is managed with medication. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
  • Cerebrovascular disease – includes stroke, carotid stenosis, aneurysms, vertebral stenosis and intracranial stenosis, and vascular malformations of the brain and spine

Other conditions on the list are chronic kidney disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), sickle cell disease, and Type 2 diabetes. Asthma, smoking, pregnancy, and the use of corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive medications are also on the list, though the CDC notes the evidence is not yet as strong for those conditions.

The CDC will continue to update this list as needed. If you have questions about your cardiovascular health, including heart, blood pressure, stroke risk, and other issues, talk to your doctor so that together, you can come up with a plan to stay on top of your health.

Dr. Stephen McCulloh, Family MedicineDr. Stephen McCulloh

Baton Rouge General Physicians - Family Medicine (O'neal)

(225) 333-3660