COVID-19: If you & # 39; re older and have chronic health problems, read this – Harvard Health Blog


At this point, you probably have heard this warning about the spread of the disease & # 39; coronavirus & # 39; for the new: older adults with a chronic medical condition are at greater risk of serious illness and death. If you fall into this category, here is some important information about coronavirus outbreaks for you.

If you look at the data, adults and people with chronic health problems who develop COVID-19 are more likely to need hospitalization and intensive care. And so far in the United States, 80% of new coronavirus deaths have occurred in adults & # 39;

But this raises a number of questions:

  • What do they mean "bigger"?
  • Which are the most important chronic diseases?
  • Why is age & # 39; s high risk and chronic disease at your risk?
  • What would you (or your loved ones) do if you were in further danger?

The “elder” is more than a number

With coronavirus, the magic number of the CDC is now set to 65. That's the age of the risk of serious illness, depression, and COVID-19 deaths. But even though the risk increases with age, infants, children and adults under age 65 have suffered a significant number, and some have severe illness, so everyone can be at risk. needs to be careful.

What are the chronic diseases that put people at high risk of COVID-19?

What do health experts mean when talking about chronic diseases that put some people at risk of COVID-19? It varies, but generally includes people who own it

  • Heart-attack
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • asthma or other lung diseases
  • HIV
  • Controlled immune system due to disease or treatment

Within these groups, there are many doubts. For example, if you had cancer years ago but are now in remission, are you at greater risk? What if diabetes is mild and well-controlled?

Why should they age & # 39; old age and chronic disease risk if they get COVID-19?

It's not entirely clear, but here are the options:

  • The immune system is weakened by age & illness not being able to fight the virus, which can lead to more infections.
  • The immune system “is a crisis” or exaggerated response For some people, they cause a lot of inflammation and cell damage in which the immune response itself causes problems.
  • Physical damage due to illness or previous illness more damage caused by the virus than one person can handle; One example is pneumonia associated with respiratory infection from the new coronavirus.
  • Concerns about viral infection may increase demand parts of the body that are already injured or old (such as heart).
  • Medicines to be taken to treat chronic conditions can increase the severity of infection. One suggestion (so far not observed) is that a family of drugs called & # 39; ACE inhibitors & # 39; to allow virus cells to enter cells. ACE infections are common in people with diabetes and hypertension, perhaps explaining why these conditions are associated with a more serious illness.

We need more research to understand if one or more of these are the most important, or if there are other issues in the game.

What are you or your loved ones doing to reduce your risk?

Although there is no way to completely eliminate the risk looga, then it makes sense to have:

  • Carefully follow the advice of each health expert, regardless of age or other risk factors, including:
    • Regular hand washing (reminding those around you, too) and avoid touching your face as much as possible.
    • Social distraction (six miles away from you and anyone you do not live with daily)
    • Avoid “emotional distractions” using phones and apps to stay connected (some grandparents can provide technical support over the phone).
    • Clean the device "touch-up" of the germs in your home clean looga
    • Stay at home as much as you can
    • Avoid anyone you know is sick
  • Pay particular attention to managing your medical conditions
    • Take your medicines as directed
    • If possible, keep your 90-day medication on hand
    • Monitor your condition regularly (for example, talk to your doctor about blood pressure monitoring, home blood sugar checks, or home lung function tests).
    • Don't smoke!
  • Make sure your regular health and nutritional needs are met having adequate medical supplies (such as a thermometer, acetaminophen, and first-aid kit) and several weeks of non-dairy foods.
  • Maintain relationships with family, friends, and your doctors so you don't feel like going.
    • Talk early and often about your health or other needs of your friends and family over the phone or online.
    • Community! Or get in touch by phone or online, connect with friends and family to keep up to date, discuss current events, or play the game.
    • Be prepared to have someone visit you regularly over the phone, on the line, or in person.
    • Keep a list of your "to call" in your fridge with a phone number of family members, caregivers, doctors, pharmacies, and the county health board.
    • Give a few keys to the keys to your neighborhood home that you or your family members can call in case of an emergency.

Bottom line

Most recommended for elderly people with chronic health conditions is the same as what is recommended even without the epidemic.

There is still a lot going on can Do it to be busy, keep your mood, and avoid confusion. Go out and walk for a walk. Call friends and family you were about to call before they burst. Write that story or haiku or write to the editor you were thinking about.

These are extraordinary times. Hearing that you are at high risk for a serious illness from a rapidly spreading virus is scary to say the least. One way to manage fear and uncertainty is to take action: be prepared, take expert advice, and practice positive emotions. That's about the best thing you can do.

Follow me on Twitter @RobShmerling

For more information, listen to our blogs and see our Coronavirus Resource Center.

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