Yes obesity can trigger viral infections, including covid-19: Study

Your metabolism plays a major role in keeping you hale and hearty and if that’s not doing well then you’ll be prone to viral infections including covid-19.
Keep your weight in check to avoid covid-19. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Team Health Shots Updated: 13 Oct 2023, 16:56 pm IST
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A lot of research is done around covid-19 every day. From symptoms to triggers that can lead to coronavirus, we are getting more and more information about this novel disease. A piece of research making news today is about the new risks that can trigger covid-19 and that is–metabolic syndrome.

The research published in the Journal of Virology, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology, suggests that metabolic syndrome increases the risk of severe disease from a viral infection, according to a review of the literature performed by a team of researchers from St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, both in Memphis (USA).

What is metabolic syndrome?
There are a lot of things that depend on our metabolic rate. Our immunity is one of them and in case of a metabolic syndrome it actually goes for a toss. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of at least three co-occurring conditions that raise the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). These conditions include excess abdominal fat, high blood pressure, excess blood sugar, abnormalities of lipids (including excess triglycerides and cholesterol), insulin resistance, and a proinflammatory state.

mental fatigue
Maintain your weight for overall well-being. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Many studies have shown that obesity is associated with increased severity of influenza A, higher viral titers in exhaled breath, and prolonged transmission of the virus, according to the report.

Obesity doubles the likelihood of influenza
Who would have thought that weight gain can make us prone to various other viruses too? According to the report, changes in the viral population may abet the emergence of more pathogenic influenza variants. Despite the fact that influenza vaccines generate robust antibody titers in obese subjects, obesity doubles the likelihood of developing influenza.

As with influenza virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recognized obesity as a risk factor for severe illness caused by SARS-CoV-2.

“This is not surprising because excess body weight and fat deposition apply pressure to the diaphragm, which further increases the difficulty of breathing during a viral infection,” the researchers write.

But we just can’t blame obesity as a recent study that looked at 174 diabetes patients with confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 found that these patients were at significantly higher risk for severe pneumonia compared to non-diabetics. CT scans revealed a greater severity of lung abnormalities in these patients.

“Future research should seek to [determine] how metabolic abnormalities increase viral pathogenesis, as this information will play an essential role in global preparedness against emerging seasonal and pandemic virus strains,” the investigators concluded.

Believe it or not, food is an essential part of the yogic life. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The takeaway?
Basically, if you are on a weight gain journey then it is time to watch out as it is just going to make you prone to viral infections. And if someone in your family is dealing with metabolic syndrome, pertaining type-2 diabetes or heart disease, then be more vigilant and take good care of them.

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Exercise, yoga, and meditation can help you deal with stress and weight, both of which are risk factors. Also, please ensure that you consult a doctor especially if you have an existing ailment, as you never know what might trigger covid-19.

(With inputs from ANI)

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